Clarke County, Miss. One person is dead following a chase and shooting early Friday in Clarke County. It happened around 3:55 a.m. on Interstate 59 near the North Enterprise exit.
According to emergency responders, the incident started with a high speed chase that involved Meridian police attempting to stop a driver on North Frontage Road on suspicion of DUI.
According to the spokesperson for the Meridian Police Department, Lt. John Griffith, the driver of the vehicle refused to stop and a pursuit ensued onto Interstate 20/59 South into the northern part of Clarke County.
Griffith says the driver lost control of his vehicle, it began to spin out of control and the driver regained control. After that he says the suspect drove toward a police vehicle hitting it head-on. He says the driver then exited his vehicle and pointed a gun at officers.
After refusing to drop the gun, Griffith says the suspect was shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene; no officers were hurt.
According to the Clarke County coroner, the victim's next of kin has been notified. He's identified as 44-year-old Thomas Ardd from Meridian.
The Clarke County Sheriff's Department, Mississippi Highway Patrol, and Meridian Police Department are handling the investigation.
The MPD says its initial investigation indicates the two officers involved in shooting Ardd were justified in taking the actions they did. But officials say that does not make the situation any easier for them, or the family of Thomas Ardd.
"Any time something like this happens, it's hard on the officers, and it's hard on the families of the person involved also," Griffith said.
The officers will be on paid administrative leave pending completion of the investigation.