Suspect dead, officer injured in Panola County shootout

(Credit: Ryan Ratajczyk)
(Credit: Ryan Ratajczyk)
(Credit: Ashley Carlisle)
(Credit: Ashley Carlisle)

HERNANDO, MS (WMC) - A suspect is dead and an officer injured after a shootout in Panola County

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation crews are investigating the shooting, which happened after a police chase on I-55 near Como, Mississippi.

The incident shut down traffic for a few hours Sunday in both directions, and officers had to divert traffic from I-55 onto U.S. Highway 51.

Hours after a wild police chase ended in the median with a shootout, workers were still trying to clear a semi that was involved in the entire incident, hit by the suspect while he desperately tried to escape.

Investigators said the suspect was first spotted Sunday afternoon by Hernando police officers and identified as a murder suspect wanted for allegedly killing his wife in Tennessee.

A high-speed pursuit ended when the suspect drifted from the southbound lanes into the northbound lanes and hit a semi-truck.

The suspect's car came to rest in the median, but the situation was not over.

"I saw the police officers with their guns out, pointing it at the car," said truck driver Larry Williams, who witnessed the shooting.

Truck drivers heading northbound saw the situation unfold as a half-hour standoff followed with law enforcement.

"Four of them tried to approach the car; when they did, something happened, I don't know if they pointed a gun at them or what but they unloaded on them," Williams said.

Witnesses said they heard a lot of shots.

"I'm guessing anywhere from 30 to 50," Williams said.

The suspect, who has not officially been identified at this moment, died at the scene. An officer was grazed by a bullet, and he is expected to be OK.

Truck drivers who have been on the road for decades say they've never seen anything like this before.

"First time just actually being around something like this," said truck driver Frank Lowe.

"I'm just glad they got him before he hurt somebody else," Williams said.

Crews were working non-stop removing the contents of the semi-truck well into the dark before they could move the truck off the interstate.

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