LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Law enforcement was in a standoff with a wanted man in northern Lauderdale County Wednesday morning. It was first reported to have been on Chapel Road but later verified as nearby Ponta Hills Road.
Deputies initially saw 30-year-old Chris Smith walking on Highway 39 and attempted to stop him, but Smith ran, hid behind a tree, then pulled out a gun and pointed it at an officer.
Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun says Smith then stepped from behind the tree and pointed the gun at himself and threatened to harm himself. A negotiator was brought to talk to Smith, who finally surrendered peacefully about an hour later and was taken into custody.
Smith was wanted by Clarke County and the Mississippi Department of Corrections for several weeks. Clarke County Sheriff Todd Kemp says Smith was on release and required to wear an ankle bracelet for previous charges in Clarke County but had removed the bracelet.
Kemp says his department received a tip Wednesday morning as to Smith's whereabouts. Numerous agencies were involved in the standoff. A resident of a neighboring house was evacuated as a precaution.
“That is ultimately what we want. We don’t want any officers injured, any suspects or citizens injured. There are times that those things happened. This could have happened very differently and we could be having a different conversation right now. I do believe our officers used great restraint and they did what they are trained to do,” said Calhoun.
Smith is being treated in a local hospital and will be handed over to Clarke County deputies.