Four in critical condition after shooting

Published 10:46 pm Friday, February 29, 2008

JACKSON (AP) — At least four people are in critical condition after a shooting in Columbus that culminated with an exchange of gunfire between police and at least one suspect, authorities said.

The four injured, who authorities would not identify, were being treated at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle in Columbus, said Keith Brown, a registered nurse.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation officials are on the scene of the shooting, but would release few details, only confirming that there was ‘‘an officer-involved shooting.’’

Email newsletter signup

Columbus Police Chief Joe St. John was one of the officers who responded to the scene, said Beverly Broocks, chair of the Columbus-Lowndes E911 commission.

Reached on his cell phone, St. John referred questions to MBI investigators.

‘‘We’re still trying to figure out what happened,’’ said MBI Investigator Vernon Hathcock.

WCBI TV in Columbus reported that a man was shot near a gas pump at Town Square Shopping Center. The police chief, who was inside a nearby business, came out and allegedly exchanged shots with at least one suspect, the report said.

At least two suspects jumped into the officer’s car and fled the scene, WCBI reported.

Police later shot one of the suspects in a the parking lot of a Best Western hotel, according to the report.

Family members told the news station that one of those wounded is former Columbus City Councilman Kamal Karriem.

This is the second shooting in less than a month involving law enforcement in Columbus.

Justin Smith, a 21-year-old Columbus man, was killed in a police shooting Jan. 31. That shooting is still under investigation.