The Latest: Son says jailed dad's truck frequently backfires

AP News
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Posted: Aug 05, 2015 8:54 PM
The Latest: Son says jailed dad's truck frequently backfires

NEW AUGUSTA, Miss. (AP) — The latest on incidents at the Camp Shelby military facility in southern Mississippi (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

The son of Alfred Baria Sr. says concerns that his father shot at soldiers on a Mississippi military base are baseless, saying his father's truck frequently backfires and that pipes in the truck weren't bomb ingredients but homemade hardware carriers.

Baria, 61, was arrested and jailed in Perry County on Wednesday. Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith says he's charged with four misdemeanor counts of disturbing the peace and two counts of being a felon in illegal possession of guns. Soldiers reported gunshots Tuesday and Wednesday, but Smith says Baria told investigators they were backfires from his truck. Baria faces no charges of shooting at soldiers, although investigators are still working.

Alfred Baria Jr. says the guns found were his, and he didn't realize his father wasn't allowed on the property with them.

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5:30 p.m.

Officials say they have arrested the man they believe was making the sounds soldiers at Mississippi's Camp Shelby reported as gunshots Tuesday and Wednesday.

However, Perry County Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith says Alfred Baria, 61, claims he can make his maroon Isuzu pickup backfire on command. Smith says officials are still questioning Baria about those claims and won't say whether authorities believe Baria was firing a gun or just backfiring.

Either way, Baria has been charged with four misdemeanor counts of disturbing the peace related to the noises. After authorities searched his house and found a rifle and a pistol, he was also charged as a felon illegally possessing guns. Smith says Baria was previously convicted on drug charges.

Smith says Baria will likely be appointed a lawyer Thursday at a bail hearing.

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4:55 p.m.

A federal agent says material found in a truck pulled over near Camp Shelby was not explosives.

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent Jason Denham told The Associated Press on Wednesday that agents found PVC pipe, caps and other materials but they were not an explosive or destructive device.

The truck was pulled over after soldiers reported gunfire on consecutive days around the same area.

Denham says agents executed a search warrant on the truck driver's home, south of New Augusta, and found a pistol and rifle. Denham says the man, who has not been identified, is a convicted felon and may be charged in relation to illegally possessing those weapons.

It's unclear whether the man will be charged in the reported shootings Tuesday and Wednesday near the military base.

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3:15 p.m.

Officials have cleared the area where they stopped a man near Camp Shelby.

Officials removed a black parcel from the man's pickup truck and took it inside the bomb disposal van before the pickup was loaded onto the tow truck Wednesday.

The man who was driving the pickup truck is considered a person of interest in the two reported incidents of apparent gunfire near the base Tuesday and Wednesday.

Officials had been concerned for the safety of 4,600 soldiers training in an exercise at the military base.

The unidentified man was driving was stopped about 11 a.m. and taken for questioning by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. Agency spokesman Warren Strain says he has not been charged.

A news conference has been scheduled.

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2:45 p.m.

A bomb-disposal vehicle and an explosives-sniffing dog have arrived at the location where authorities pulled over a man who they believe may have some involvement in reported shootings near a military facility.

The Biloxi-based unit traveled to the rural location in Perry County, east of Hattiesburg. Sheriff's deputies suspect the pickup's bed may contain some sort of explosive.

Shots were again reported on the fringe of Camp Shelby on Wednesday morning for the second day in a row. Shortly after 11 a.m., an unidentified man in a maroon, Isuzu pickup passed authorities on Mississippi 29, south of New Augusta. That pickup matched the description given following Tuesday's incident.

WDAM-TV reports the man told authorities he can control when the truck backfires.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation continues to question the man, who has not been charged, spokesman Warren Strain says.

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2:15 p.m.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation says bomb personnel has been dispatched to where authorities took into custody a man for questioning over two shootings near a military facility.

On Wednesday, just hours after the second shooting near Camp Shelby in as many days, MBI spokesman Warren Strain said the move was "just out of an abundance of caution."

Strain says a maroon pickup was stopped about 11 a.m. Wednesday after a brief pursuit. The man was then taken into custody, but Strain says no charges have been filed. The man hasn't been identified.

Two long pieces of white PVC pipe are visible sticking out of the back of the bed of the pickup. It is parked on the side of the highway just outside Camp Shelby.

The MBI is the lead agency investigating the shootings. No injuries were reported.

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1:15 p.m.

Video from two television stations at the scene where Mississippi authorities took into custody a man for questioning over two shootings near a military facility show a small maroon pickup truck pulled off the side of the road.

In Wednesday's video, the driver gets out with his hands raised and backs out toward two armed law enforcement officers. The man lowers himself to his knees, lowers his arms and clasps his hands behind his back. The video ends at that point.

Photos from the scene show officers going through the truck.

The man has not been identified. But Mississippi Bureau of Investigation officers have taken into custody a "person of interest" for questions. Officials have said the description of the shooter was the same in both the Tuesday and Wednesday incidents: a white male in a red pickup truck.

No one was injured in the shootings near the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center.

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Noon

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation officers have taken into custody a man they say is a "person of interest" in two shooting incidents near the Camp Shelby training facility in southern Mississippi.

MBI spokesman Warren Strain says authorities have taken the man into custody for questioning after the second shooting incident Wednesday.

Strain declined to identify the man or say where he had been taken for questioning.

Officials say that about 8 a.m. Wednesday, soldiers training at the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center reported shots fired into the air. Lt. Col. Christian Patterson says it was in the same area where soldiers reported gunshots fired from a pickup truck a day earlier.

Patterson says the description of the shooter was the same in both instances: a white male in a red pickup truck.

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10:20 a.m.

Gov. Phil Bryant is urging soldiers statewide to "defend themselves as necessary" after gunfire was reported for a second consecutive day near a southern Mississippi military facility.

Shortly after soldiers training at the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center reported the shots fired Wednesday morning, Bryant said all available personnel would be used to find and arrest the suspect. The National Guard has said that the description of the shooter is the same for the incidents on both Tuesday and Wednesday: a white male in a red pickup truck, make and model unknown.

Bryant says: "The Soldiers at Camp Shelby and across the state can and should take appropriate steps to defend themselves as necessary."

After a shooting rampage at military sites in Tennessee last month, Bryant ordered guards at all military base entrances in Mississippi armed. He cited that move in his Wednesday statement urging military personnel to protect themselves.

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9:45 a.m.

The National Guard says that as gunfire was reported for a second consecutive day near a Mississippi military facility, officials are making sure personnel know of developments and working with local authorities to find the suspect.

Shortly after soldiers reported the shots fired Wednesday morning, Lt. Col. Christian Patterson noted that the base is in the midst of a summer training exercise, hosting more than 4,600 active-duty soldiers. The training also was underway during Tuesday's shooting.

Patterson says: "We're making sure soldiers are aware of what's going on so they can take the proper precautionary measures." No service members have been hurt or injured.

Patterson says the description of the shooter is the same for both incidents: a white male in a red pickup truck, make and model unknown.

Both shootings were near Camp Shelby but not on its premises. Patterson says military officials are coordinating with Perry County authorities in their response.

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9:30 a.m.

National Guard officials say shots have been fired for a second consecutive day near a military facility in southern Mississippi, but no injuries are reported.

Lt. Col. Christian Patterson says that at about 8 a.m. Wednesday, soldiers training at the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center reported shots fired into the air. Patterson describes it as the same area where soldiers reported gunfire shot from pickup near troops standing guard Tuesday.

Patterson says the description of the shooter is the same for both incidents: a white male in a red pickup truck, make and model unknown.

He says Camp Shelby is at a heightened state of alert but no service members have been hurt or injured.

He says the post is secure and all personnel are accounted for.