Clarksdale, MS – The family of a man fatally shot by police on Saturday has said they don’t believe he would have pointed a gun at police, but witnesses to the gunfight told a very different story.
Patrick Bryant, 41, was shot and killed in 84-year-old Charles Harlow’s backyard at about 9 pm on Nov. 10, according to WREG.
Harlow described the gunfight that took place between Bryant and the officers behind his house.
“I was sitting right here in this chair and I heard shots. I would say four or five,” he said. “And my first reaction, I got up and found my handgun.”
When Harlow got to his back door, he told WREG he found Bryant on the ground with a pistol lying next to him.
“I came to open this door, saw the gate halfway open, and a body lying there,” the octogenarian said. “I looked down and saw a pistol right at the bottom of my steps.”
Harlow told WREG that a neighbor had called 911 after Bryant tried to break into two different homes in the 200-block of Clark Street.
He said that Bryant had been using a young boy as his lookout while he committed the crimes.
Harlow told WREG he assumed that Bryant and the boy had been trying to hide from responding police officers in his backyard when the shootout began.
Clarksdale Police Chief Sandra Williams confirmed that officers from her department wear bodycams, but wouldn’t comment on the case specifically, WHBQ reported.
Two police sources also told WHBQ that the bodycam videos had been reviewed and that they captured the incident with Bryant.
Bryant’s estranged wife, Robin Bryant, said she talked to Chief Williams about the case.
“I said, did he have a gun and she said yes. And I said, did he point it at the police? And she said yes. But I don’t believe that because he does security and he’s wanted to be a police officer all his life,” Robin Bryant told WMC.
She said the boy who was with her husband when he was shot was the son of Bryant’s girlfriend.
“If he got caught doing wrong, he would have accepted his punishment,” Robin Bryant told WREG. “And he sure wasn’t gonna do the Wild Wild West with a child.”
Robin Bryant said her husband was shot three times, and that she and the rest of his family want to see the bodycam video to find out if the officers’ were telling the truth about him pointing or firing a gun at them.
“There’s a lot of us wishing we had answers,” she said. “I just want to know, truthfully, what happened.”
As is customary for officer-involved shootings, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) has stepped into the lead role for the investigation.
They confirmed a weapon had been found at the scene, WREG reported.
“MBI Special Agents, assisted by the MBI Crime Scene Unit, will gather any and all relevant interviews and evidence as part of this ongoing investigation. Our investigative findings will be shared with the District Attorney’s office throughout the process for consideration and review,” the bureau wrote in a statement to the media.
“As is our policy, MBI does not identify the officers involved in these types of incidents and instead refers questions of that nature to their respective department,” MBI said.
The observant witness, Harlow, told WREG that he overheard a conversation between the officer who shot Bryant and a detective.
“I heard him tell them that he told this person to stop, and the person shot at him and he shot back,” he said.
However, local news station WHBQ reported a story that the Harlow was simply “killed by police while walking with his son.”
Their story made no mention about Harlow allegedly pointing or shooting a weapon at police.
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