Male injured in shooting near downtown Gulfport. Witnesses describe what they saw.

A man was taken to a hospital after being wounded in a shooting in downtown Gulfport late Monday afternoon in the 2000 block of 25th Avenue, also known as U.S. 49, police said.

Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said police were responding to a reported disturbance at the library on U.S. 49 when a man matching the suspect description was seen going into a pawn shop two blocks north. Papania said the man then quickly exited the pawn shop.

The man was “armed and the officers engaged in the gunfire,” Papania said. He said it was not clear who fired their gun first. No officers were injured.

Samuel Bacote said he was working at One Call Paul Barber Shop, across the street from El Agave restaurant, when he heard two shots and went outside. He saw a male, who appeared to have a limp, running north on the highway.

A police officer chased the man and an officer drew a weapon and ordered him to stop, Bacote said. He saw the limping man fall down, but said he didn’t hear any additional shots fired, and wasn’t sure if the officer had drawn a Taser.

The wounded man fell in the median between Coast Shoe Repair and the law office of attorney Michael Crosby. Police were checking Crosby’s building for signs of bullets on his building, Crosby said.

Police were later seen retrieving evidence from the bushes in the median of the highway between the pawn shop and where the man fell.

Thomas Ginn said he was in a van on 20th Street, parked near a pawn shop, when it happened. He said he heard five or six shots, but did not see anything except police arriving and the ambulance leaving the scene.

Police afterward gathered outside of 24 Hour Quick Cash and Pawn, about a block south of where the wounded man fell. The business has the words “We pawn jewelry” painted on the top of the yellow-sided building.

Police tape and cones surrounded an area on in the median where the man fell. There was a piece of clothing and other debris there.

The northbound lanes of the highway remained closed while the investigation continued. Papania said the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation would lead the investigation into the shooting, as is standard protocol when police officers are involved. will update this report.

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews