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Official: Deputy, not 911 call, started events that led to fatal shooting in Jackson County

SUN HERALD

JACKSON COUNTY -- The Jackson County Sheriff's Department clarified Thursday the events that led to a deadly shooting by a deputy at the Ramada Inn.

A Sheriff's Department press release had erroneously said a motel clerk made the call.

Sheriff's Capt. Chris Stratton said no one called to report suspicious activity in a room at the motel in the St. Martin community, where Christian Bowman, 23, died in a run-in with two deputies.

"There was no 911 call," he said. "It was an officer-initiated scene. It was an officer that received information he felt needed a follow-up investigation. Apparently, something was said that made him go back to that room."

The deputy was investigating a report of a taxi driver who had not been paid, officials said.

Bowman was in handcuffs and had a gunshot wound to the chest but was "still fighting" a short time after a deputy radioed in to say he and his partner had a few "bruises and cuts" but were otherwise fine following the encounter.

Bowman, 23, died at the scene.

A Sheriff's Department press release said Bowman was shot after he became "aggressively combative toward" a deputy and the two fought. A second deputy arrived to help the first deputy "subdue" Bowman.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is heading up a probe into the shooting.

According to police-radio traffic captured on Broadcastify.com, a deputy first radioed in to say he smelled marijuana, then silence follows for a few minutes until a deputy radios in to say he has "one at gunpoint."

Minutes pass before the deputy radios to report "shots fired" and asks for an ambulance.

The deputy reports Bowman is "still fighting" but is in custody and in handcuffs.

The deputy's shift supervisor steps in, according to the dispatch audio, and tells the deputy to give him a "21," the code for a phone call. The deputy is back on the radio afterward and says the man in handcuffs is "still fighting."

A deputy radios in the man has a gunshot wound to the chest.

Deputies tried to help Bowman by performing CPR, the dispatch audio indicates.

"If you don't have first responders en route, please get here," the deputy radios.

Sherry Bowman wants to know why her son was shot and killed.

"They had Tasers, for God's sake," she said.

The deadly shooting is the fifth killing by a law officer reported this year in the state. Four were shootings, and one involved a Taser. All but one occurred in South Mississippi, with one each in Jackson County, Gautier, Gulfport and Biloxi.

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