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Tenn. Officer Killed, Suspect Injured in Shootout

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June 16, 2004

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Tenn. Officer Killed, Suspect Injured in Shootout

Officer Down: Sgt. Andy Bailey - [Jackson, Tennessee]

By Julie Dodson, The Jackson Sun

A Jackson, Tenn. police officer was shot and killed Thursday during a shootout with a suspected thief.

The incident started inside the Old Hickory Mall and led to a high-speed police chase that ended near downtown Jackson.

Sgt. Andy Bailey, a 31-year veteran of the Jackson Police Department, was pronounced dead shortly after noon today, said JPD Chief Rick Staples during a hospital press conference. The identity and condition of the suspect has not been released, though Staples said he was shot multiple times.

Police investigate the scene of a shooting on North Highland Avenue today. The incident started at Old Hickory Mall, and the suspect led police on a chase through Jackson that ended near West Side Cleaners at North Highland Avenue and Deaderick Street. (HELEN COMER/The Jackson Sun)Check for updates throughout the day at jacksonsun.com

Both were taken to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.

Staples said Bailey was ''ready to retire'' and leaves behind a son and a wife or ex-wife. Staples, his voice cracking with emotion, described Bailey as ''a hard worker, well liked, dedicated policeman, dedicated to the end.''

Bailey was the third JPD officer killed in the line of duty, the other deaths happening in the late 1800s and early1900s.

JPD will hold another press conference this afternoon to release further details.

According to preliminary reports and eyewitness accounts, the incident started when the assailant attempted to snatch a purse at the mall sometime after 9 a.m. this morning. The assailant fired a shot in the air as he fled the mall area, according to an eyewitness.

Mall officials were not available for comment, but are planning a 2:30 p.m. press conference.

A high-speed police chase began after the suspect fled the mall in a brown Chevrolet Celebrity with speeds reaching up to 80 mph ending at West Side Cleaners, located at 293 N. Highland Ave. The suspect rammed his car into police cruisers throughout the pursuit, which stretched east and west in the downtown area along Orleans Street.

Betty Davis had just finished helping a customer at the front counter of West Side Cleaners when she heard commotion outside.

''I heard the sirens, and I heard the shots,'' Davis said. ''I saw the police get shot and go down - the suspect was still running, and the police were still shooting at him.''

Davis' green 1995 Ford Contour, which was parked in the lot behind the cleaners, was one of two cars hit by the suspect's brown car. The cars were pushed into the house next to the cleaners on West Orleans Street.

By 9:45 a.m., a small crowd had gathered outside the cleaners and across North Highland Avenue to watch police survey the scene.

Chris Maxwell, who owns West Side Cleaners, was standing at his red truck in front of the store when he heard sirens and tires squealing.

''It all happened so quick,'' Maxwell said. ''It's like - boom - in three seconds it's over.''

Maxwell saw the suspect shoot the police officer at close range, he said. He was standing about six feet away.

''Then he (the suspect) took off running,'' Maxwell said. ''It looked like something you would see on TV.''

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