A Columbus man was transported to BMH-GT last night around 9:10pm after being shot in the abdomen by a Columbus Police officer. Police had responded to an E-911 dispatch to 1603 6th St. North for an attempted suicide shortly before 9:00pm. A white male multiple neighbors identified as Billy Jack Bevering [The Columbus Packet would like to apologize for the name appearing incorrectly in Thursday’s edition. At the time we went to press no names had been released.] specifically requested that CPD investigator Raymond Hackler came to the home to speak with him.[Packet readers may remember Inv. Hackler saved a young man from choking to death last fall at Applebee’s on Hwy 45. It remains unclear how the man knew Inv. Hackler-Ed]
As Hackler arrived on scene, Officers Tommy Watkins, Heath Beard, Dwight Smith, Don Holifield and Cpl. Donnie Elkin surrounded the home. Hackler spoke with Bevering for several minutes under a side carport on the north side of the home. Bevering allegedly had a pistol pointed towards his head during the encounter. A BMH-GT ambulance crew staged nearby on 16th Avenue north awaiting further instruction.
At 9:00pm sharp, as neighbors gathered in the nearby streets, two gunshots pierced the silence. Officers swarmed the rear of the home to investigate the source of the gunfire. Cpl. Donnie Elkin witnessed the shooting and immediately radioed for the waiting ambulance to come to the scene. Although Police declined to comment on scene, radio communication indicated that the man had turned the gun on Inv. Hackler, resulting in the officer firing two non-lethal shots in self-defense. [I had just stepped out of my car on 6th St. North and 16th Ave. when the gunshots occurred. There was a moment of confusion by the officers who did not witness the shooting, but once it was determined what had happened, order was restored-CK] One of the two shots fired by Hackler struck Bevering in his lower abdomen, and he was stabilized quickly on scene by BMH-GT paramedics. Hackler emerged from the carport somewhat shaken, but surrounded by his fellow officers. Around the same time, Bevering was taken to the ambulance and rushed to Baptist Hospital. [Inv. Hackler is well known to be one of the most disciplined and well-trained officers on the force. He served 15+ years in the Air Force and is reportedly an excellent marksman. CK] Columbus Police quickly “taped off” the crime scene, and senior officers were called in. Chief Joseph St. John, Assistant Chief Joe Johnson and most of the investigative department of the Columbus Police department arrived at the staging area in front of Shelton’s Cleaners. A determination was made to call in the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations (MBI) to process the scene. [Very little information was available as of press time, but numerous neighbors did confirm the man’s name. Neighbors also said they think he was in his 50’s. BMH-GT did have a patient named Billy Jack Bereving in ICU as of 2:45am this morning and sources said he should recover from his wound. Columbus Police did not release any information as of press time, except that the investigation had been handed over to the MBI.-CK]