Police say they shot Mississippi man in exchange of gunfire

AP News
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Posted: Oct 13, 2015 1:02 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Officers pumped tear gas into an apartment, then shot and killed a man who emerged firing at them at the end of an hours-long standoff, authorities said Tuesday.

Rudolph "Toby" Smith, 31, died Monday after he shot through his door at an officer who responded to reports that he was threatening other tenants while displaying a gun at the Brookhaven Apartments, according to police.

"When the officer walked up to the door, he (Smith) just started firing," said Bobby Bell, police chief in Brookhaven, a town of 12,000 people about 50 miles south of Jackson.

Smith then barricaded himself in the apartment, shooting out a window and hitting cars and other buildings, Bell said. The chief said some tenants remained in place at the complex, a series of one-story building with four units apiece.

Earlier, officials had reported that Smith was resisting eviction, but Bell said the officer was not sent to try to force Smith to vacate the apartment. He said apartment managers might have given Smith eviction papers earlier. A woman who answered the phone Tuesday at the management office declined to comment.

Bell said officers and Smith's family members tried to communicate with him by phone and text during the standoff, which lasted around six hours.

The state Highway Patrol sent its SWAT team to Brookhaven. Reporters heard gunfire for hours at the scene.

"We tried talking him out and that didn't work," Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said. "The next step, when talking doesn't work, is to use nonlethal methods."

Officials began gassing the apartment, Bell said, but Smith began shooting more. Smith was shot when he emerged, firing, the chief said.

"I don't think it was a self-inflicted wound," Bell said. "When he opened the door, shots were exchanged."

Strain said Smith died around 11:30 p.m. Bell said the body was sent to a state crime lab for an autopsy. Lincoln County Coroner Clay McMorris declined to say how many times Smith had been shot.

Brookhaven Police Officer Kenneth Collins was lightly wounded when debris from gunfire hit him, but Bell said he was fine after being bandaged. Strain said a Mississippi Highway Patrol officer had a piece of glass hit his eye when a shot hit a bullet-resistant windshield on an armored vehicle.

Bell says two long guns and two handguns were found in Smith's apartment. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is leading the inquiry, as is typical when police shoot people in Mississippi.

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