Death of Choctaw County Standoff Suspect Probed

Authorities say Jeff Bonner died in the Marengo County Jail after being transported there around 4 a.m. Saturday morning.

Bonner was earlier involved in a standoff with law enforcement.

The standoff resulted from an incident that started at a house about five miles from the location where 45-year-old Jeff Bonner lived, at the home of the chief for the New Hope Volunteer Fire Department near the Needham community.

Fire Chief Jerry Bonner, who spoke to Newscenter 11 by phone, said he was attacked by Jeff Bonner with a lug wrench and the two fought for about 40 minutes.

"At first, shocked," said Needham resident LaVaughn Sonnie, when asked for reaction to the news of the incident. "We couldn't believe it."

"He didn't go in to hurt the man," said Needham resident Tammy Turner. "He went in to get a gun."

After the chief escaped the struggle, officials say Jeff Bonner went back to his home where he barricaded himself inside, as his family members joined authorities outside. It was ultimately about 3:30 a.m. when authorities were able to take Jeff Bonner into custody.

Because the Choctaw County Jail has been closed by the state, the suspect was taken to the jail in neighboring Marengo County. He was discovered dead later Saturday morning.

"They brought him in here sometime after 4 o'clock, and it was sometime after 10 a.m. when we found him dead, you know," said Marengo County Sheriff Jesse Langley. "It's being investigated by ABI."

"He didn't die from natural causes nor suicide," said Marengo County Coroner Stuart Eatmon. "We got him sent to the forensics lab and it will take three to four weeks to get the results back." 00:31:57

Authorities say they will have to wait until those results come back to determine the exact cause of death.

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