by Steve Rogers/The Packet
A Columbus man is dead after being shot by a Columbus police officer outside the Premier Lounge club at the intersection of 22nd and College streets early Saturday morning.
According to Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant, 24-year-old Raymond Davis, who lived only about five blocks from the club in the 2400 block of Fifth Avenue South, was pronounced dead at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle at 1:58 a.m. Saturday.
The officer involved in the shooting has not been named by the department but as is policy, he is on administrative leave pending counseling and an investigation but the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. Witnesses told The Packet the officer was Jared Booth, who was in trouble this summer for violating the city’s social media policy, but he had completed a suspension and returned to work three months ago.
Because the MBI is now handling the inquiry, few details have been released. Bu witnesses and source tell The Packet police were called to a disturbance call at the Premier Lounge as the club was closing shortly after 1 a.m. It is unclear what the disturbance was or if the calls crossed each other but witnesses said Davis and his cousin were walking from the lounge north on 22nd Street toward Main Street where their car was parked.
Davis was described as intoxicated while his cousin “was not drunk” one source told The Packet. The two struggled over a handgun that apparently belonged to the cousin but was being carried by Davis. As they struggled, a shot went off and Davis began to run with the gun.
At least two and possibly three police cars already were parked in the area to monitor traffic at closing time, witnesses said.
One of those officers who was parked on 22nd Street heard the shot and got out of his car and saw Davis running with the gun. He ordered Davis to stop. Davis apparently did and turned holding the gun. Witnesses, including a Premier Lounge security guard, said they heard Booth tell Davis at least twice and possibly as many as four times to drop the weapon.
Something then prompted Booth to shoot. It is unclear what that was.
Davis was shot in front of what used to be a veterinary clinic across the street from and just north of the Premier Lounge. The club once operated on Seventh Avenue North but moved to the 22nd Street address about 10 years ago. It has seldom been the scene of any trouble or problems, police say.
“He was a good man. Not been in trouble before, had been to some college,” said one person who knew Davis.
“This sounds like one of those things you can’t explain. A bunch of circumstances that all came together and came out bad,” said another person who didn’t see the incident but was at the scene during the investigation, which went on until early Saturday morning.
Some witnesses said as many as six shots were fired with several striking Davis. Another bullet went into a car and struck a woman passenger. One witness said the woman didn’t realize it until she got home but other sources could not confirm that.
Shell casings from at least two different weapons were recovered at the scene. The weapon Davis was holding also was recovered.
Merchant would not say how many times Davis was shot. He also would not rule out that a shot from Davis’ gun might have hit him during the struggle.
“Those are the kinds of things we do autopsies for and why the MBI is talking to as many people as they can,” Merchant said.
The autopsy will be completed next week at the Mississippi Forensic Center.
Davis does not have any felony criminal history in Lowndes County, according to court records. But Merchant said he’d been told Davis had been shot once previously in the leg.