A man who fled the scene after accidentally discharging a firearm Wednesday evening into a Columbus restaurant is in Lowndes County Adult Detention Center.
Justin Bishop, 22, of Starkville, is charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling, a felony, according to Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton.
Bishop was eating alone in the outside dining area of Mi Hacienda on Highway 45 North when a 9-millimeter handgun he was legally carrying discharged and a bullet went into the restaurant, Shelton said. No one was hurt.
The suspect fled the restaurant in a blue car before police arrived, but he left behind his wallet and the gun permit issued by Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Bishop turned himself in to Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday morning. Shelton said the suspect told deputies he was the person Columbus police were seeking and surrendered the gun.
Shelton said police do not believe Bishop was displaying the gun in a threatening manner when it fired, but CPD charged him with a felony — rather than a misdemeanor for firing a gun in the city limits — because the shot endangered “a restaurant full of people.”
“He was changing it from one hand to another or taking it out of his pocket or something (when it fired),” Shelton said. “… If you’re going to take out a weapon in public, make sure it’s not loaded.”
Bishop’s court arraignment is set for Tuesday, Shelton said.
Zack Plair is the managing editor for The Dispatch.