An off-duty police officer and an armed robbery suspect exchanged gunfire outside The Princess Theatre downtown business shortly after midnight Wednesday.
Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting, according to a Columbus Police Department press release. Authorities do not believe anyone was injured.
Early reports indicate the off-duty officer was outside the The Princess Theatre restaurant on Fifth Street South when the armed robbery suspect shot at him. The officer, who was carrying a legal off-duty weapon, shot back and then chased the suspect for one block. The suspect got away.
A city source gave The Dispatch a name for the officer involved, but the newspaper could not otherwise confirm the officer’s identity by press time. The press release indicated CPD would not publicly identify the officer.
Police Chief Fred Shelton said the officer will return to work on his standard schedule since he was off-duty when the shooting occurred.
MBI investigators responded to the scene and gathered evidence. Shelton said CPD’s standard procedure is to call MBI to investigate officer-involved shootings.
MBI spokesperson Warren Strain confirmed MBI’s involvement with the case but did not comment further on the shooting.
The suspect is described as a tall black male who was wearing an orange bandanna over his face. Shelton told The Dispatch he was attempting to rob customers in The Princess’ outdoor seating area.
“We believe that someone knows who this is and we ask the public to contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-530-7151 and identify this person,” Shelton said in the press release.
“We will diligently continue our work that began last night to identify this suspect and arrest him,” Shelton continued. “The management and staff of The Princess are cooperating with us 100 percent, and we believe we will bring this suspect to justice.”