Shortly after 11:00 pm last Wednesday evening, Columbus Police Officer Micheal Harlow came upon two men fighting in the middle of Main St. at the 9th St. intersection. James Demont Douglas allegedly fired a single shot at Bernard Antonia Harris just as Officer Harlow pulled up.
Douglas and Harris told officers on scene they had gotten into a verbal argument earlier in the evening at Baldor where the two men work. After their shift ended at 11:00pm, the two men happened to pull up next to each other at a traffic light where they started arguing again. Douglas then exited his 1993 red Chevrolet Caprice as Harris got out of his white 2001 F-150. The two men began to scuffle in the street when Douglas reportedly pulled a .45 caliber handgun on Harris.
Douglas dropped the gun and Harris then began to physically beat Douglas in the middle of the street resulting in a bloody head wound to Douglas. Harris attempted to flee the scene as Officer Harlow pulled up but not before Douglas fired a single shot at Harris. The bullet flew past Harris and into the windshield of a nearby vehicle driven by an unidentified woman. The female was so startled by the shooting that she fled to the Sonic on Hwy 45 north before calling 911.
Officer Harlow then radioed for backup stating “I’ve got shots fired on the corner of 9th and Main.” CPD officers rushed to the scene and had both Douglas and Harris in custody within seconds of the gunshot. Harris was immediately taken to Lowndes County Adult Detention Center(LCADC) while Douglas was brought via ambulance to BMH-GT.
Columbus Police Investigator Raymond Hackler questioned Douglas at the hospital as he was being treated for his head wound and an injured ankle. Douglas was released from the hospital, but was not taken to LCADC after it was initially determined that a solitary cell would not be available for him. He was ordered to report to Columbus Police Friday.
Officials with the Lowndes County Sheriffs Department told The Packet that injured inmates are, by rule, given a cell to themselves to prevent other inmates from possibly hurting them- a possible liability for the jail. LCADC Shift Supervisor Pam Glover did tell Columbus Police that no solitary cell was available, but then called back within five minutes to tell them arrangements had been made to accommodate the prisoner.
Douglas did turn himself in on Friday, and was released a few hours later on $30,000 bond.
[Several questions regarding the incident have risen in recent days as to why the shooter was not brought to the jail that night. LCADC authorities and Columbus Police confirmed the second (return) phone call was made to the police about the available cell, but no answer has been given as to why the prisoner was not brought in.
The Columbus Police Department does have four holding cells at the municipal complex on Main St., but Interim Chief Selvain McQueen said that the cells are not designed to hold prisoners overnight. It could also be assumed that there would not be proper supervision at the CPD holding cells, especially for an injured inmate.
Several citizens expressed outrage that someone arrested for a shooting was not immediately brought to jail. Most do not realize that Douglas would have likely only spent the night there, only to be released mere hours later when he made bail. CK]