Taking Added Measures Of Safety

CLAY COUNTY, Miss.(WCBI) – A 10 hour standoff in Clay County ends with one man in the hospital.

A man living on Northwood Forrest Road allegedly fired shots at deputies Thursday night when the officers arrived to serve a commitment order.

Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott says the suspect in the overnight standoff opened fire, striking one of the deputy’s shields. He says the commitment order gave them an idea of the person’s mind-set.

When possible mental illness is involved, law enforcement tell me they have to take extra precautions to stay safe.

“That can be one of the most dangerous situations you can go into because you never know the mind-set,” said Lowndes County Chief Deputy Marc Miley.

It’s a growing issue Mississippi faces and law enforcement encounters regularly; people who may have mental challenges.

Miley says it makes getting the job done, just a little harder.

“I’ve been assaulted, I’ve been put in the hospital, I’ve taken stitches in my head from being hit by them. We had two officers shot a few years ago, another officer shot about 10 years ago we’ve had a shootout about six years ago,” said Miley.

It happened Thursday night for deputies with the Clay County Sheriff’s Department. An order to pick up a person for commitment turned into a standoff.

Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott says knowledge is key when dealing with a potentially mentally unstable suspect.

“In this particular case we had a little bit of an incline that something was going on so it gave us a little bit better time to prepare,” said Scott.

Miley says the approach deputies would use under normal circumstances is completely different when dealing with a person who may be unstable.

“A tone of voice can change their attitude. they may get set off by seeing too many officers, they may get set off seeing a uniform or anything like that. You try to get as much history you can when you go out there from the family to know the best way to approach. It could be sending in two officers, or four officers or a whole shift because you never know what the mind-set is going to be,” said Miley.

By 3am, the Clay County standoff was over. Scott says things could have been so much worse.

“There were multiple shots fired the potential for someone to get hurt was great but again the training and the corporation I think made the difference in this case,” said Miley.

MBI is investigating the scene and the Mississippi crime lab is investigating now. The suspect is currently in the Tupelo hospital now where he is listed in stable condition.

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