What should have been a standard traffic stop for a seat belt violation escalated when the passenger of a stopped car threw a loaded gun out the window in an attempt to dispose of it last Thursday afternoon.
A Highway Patrolman pulled over a blue Mercury Grand Marquis for a seat belt violation he observed driving opposite to the car on Main Street just after 4 p.m. on Thursday. The car stopped on 19th St. S. and College St. by Shiloh Baptist Church and the officer observed an open container when he approached the vehicle on the driver’s side.
Thomas James Bonner Jr., was asked to step out of the vehicle and administered a breathalyzer test. When he registered over the legal limit, he was placed under arrest.
While the trooper detained the driver, the passenger, an unidentified black male, threw a gun out of the window onto the church lawn.
The trooper drew his sidearm on the passenger, placed him in handcuffs and called for backup. Columbus Police and Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department Deputies responded quickly. Officer Kevin Moore assisted in suspect detention and searched the vehicle.
The discarded gun, a .32 fully loaded handgun with an additional bullet in the chamber, was seized. Upon searching the vehicle, another weapon, a .357 Smith and Wesson Magnum revolver was discovered.
Bonner claimed ownership of the revolver, the unnamed passenger claimed he purchased the pistol on the street.
The passenger was released. Bonner was charged with driving under the influence, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He had a prior felony charge for possession of a controlled substance. He was taken to Lowndes County Adult Detention Center.0