Routine probe under way in shooting

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 16, 2007

Two Mississippi Department of Corrections field officers whofired at a suspect Monday are under routine investigation followingthe incident, MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps said today.

“Any time a shot is fired we have to investigate it,” Epps saidof the incident involving MDOC officers Rhonda Boyd and ToddDillon.

In other developments, law enforcement officers throughoutLincoln County continue to search for Thomas Williams, also knownas “Stagger Lee,” said Brookhaven Police Department Chief PapHenderson. He is wanted on a charge of aggravated assault on anofficer after allegedly attempting to run down one of the MDOCofficers during Monday’s incident.

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The incident began around 3:45 p.m. Monday when Boyd, Dillon andfellow MDOC Field Officer Troy Floyd attempted to serve a probationviolation warrant on Williams at the corner of Independence Streetand Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive.

Williams was sitting in a van owned by a witness when theofficers approached. When he was ordered out of the vehicle by theofficers, Williams allegedly attempted to hit Boyd with the vanwhile leaving the scene, Epps said.

Boyd had to leap out of the vehicle’s path to escape injury,Epps said, citing the officers’ reports.

Boyd and Dillon each fired one shot at the fleeing van. The vanwas struck once near the center of the rear hatch.

“I can tell you now that, assuming everything I have is true,that’s justified,” Epps said.

Law enforcement officers found the van on Main Street a shorttime later, it’s engine still running, but Williams was not in thearea.

Williams, 23, was convicted in January 2002 of distribution ofmore than one ounce, but less one kilogram, of marijuana, Eppssaid. He was sentenced to 10 years and restitution and was placedon probation in January 2003 after completing the Regimented InmateDisciple Program.

A warrant was issued because Williams did not report to meetingswith his probation officers since December 2005, failed to payrestitution payments amounting to $3,500 to date and failed to payhis probation supervisional fees, the commissioner said.

Epps said Williams has several charges pending based on Monday’sincident. However, he did not specify those violations.

Floyd is not under investigation because he did not dischargehis firearm.

The investigation is being handled internally by the MDOCCriminal Investigations Division, Epps said.

One of the field officers involved, Dillon, was recentlypresented with a MDOC Heroism Award for his actions in anothercase, Epps said.