BY JOHN DOUGLAS AND COLIN KRIEGER
Just after midnight Saturday, a house party in eastern Lowndes County turned violent after an argument broke out. Lowndes County deputies, Columbus police officers and medical responders rushed to the 4500 block of Highway 182 East in response to a call of two shooting victims.
Witnesses on scene told responding officers that during the party, a white female and a black male (identified as Kirby Erby) had a disagreement that escalated until the male allegedly struck the female in the face. In response, multiple white males reportedly attacked Erby. Those on scene then say that Erby’s brother, Joshua, pulled a handgun and fired into the group.
The Erbys then fled the scene as partygoers called 911 for two individuals, Michael Oglesby and Michael Hall, Jr., who both suffered gunshot wounds to their legs. The Erbys attempted to leave the scene in Kirby’s green older model Lexus, but the vehicle would not start. This prompted the brothers to flee into the nearby woods.
While the scene was secured and the victims were transported to the hospital, officers scoured the immediate area in search of the Erby brothers.
Approximately 45 minutes after the incident, Deputy Blake Prescott was driving along Highway 182 near The Junction (about 1⁄4 mile east of the house party) when Kirby Erby stepped out of the forest on the north side of the highway. Erby was sweaty, winded and soaked from the thighs down after wading through the wet brush under the trees.
Several deputies responded to Prescott’s location as back-up.
Kirby was questioned about his brother’s location but claimed that the two had split up while running through the woods.
Narcotics Agent Archie Williams, who was already on scene with his K-9 partner, Cartouche, began an extended search for Joshua. The two followed the more evasive Erby’s scent through the area for the next two hours until it was determined that the suspect had contacted someone for assistance and left the area by car.
An alert Columbus police officer caught sight of the car that was suspected of transporting Kirby Erby in front of a home on 9th Avenue North near Military Road around 2:30 a.m. Columbus Police officers and sheriff’s deputies surrounded the home before knocking on the door. Several people believed to be relatives of the Erbys calmly spoke with investigators for several minutes before providing information on the at-large Erby’s whereabouts.
Deputies left the scene around 3:20 a.m. for a rendezvous at The Junction dance hall on Highway 182 East. A team of at least six deputies drove in formation down the highway and quietly entered the rear production are of Trimjoist, at 5146 Highway 182 E.
The deputies split up and entered the rear portion of the open air production facility shortly before 4 a.m. With weapons drawn, the team cautiously searched the factory, eventually discovering Erby holed up in the front office hallway. Erby surrendered without incident.
Joshua Erby was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one charge of probation violation. He was issued a $200,000 bond and placed on hold for the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Kirby Erby was charged with accessory after the fact and was issued a $25,000 bond.