GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Witnesses said they are surprised more lives weren't lost after a high speed chase ended in gunfire in George County. Authorities said police shot and killed Michael Parker, 36, of Lucedale in the pursuit.
Authorities said shortly after midnight on Sunday, George County deputies tried to make a traffic stop on Highway 63 and Old Highway 63. However, they said instead of pulling over, Parker took off in a chase that eventually ended on Highway 26 at Henry Cochran Road.
On Monday, crime scene tape was one of several clues to the deadly scene had happened just west of Lucedale. The Burge family lives on the two lane road.
"We heard lots of cops cars coming," said witness Kevin Burge. "There was between 10 and 15 coming. We happen to come around the house and we seen the truck come by that they were chasing."
"The little truck came by was going about 120 miles an hour. At that time there was like four or five cops following it," said Kalyn Burge. "We were being nosy, and we went to see what was going on. By the time we got down there, the truck had come back by and there was like 11 cops following it. We saw one of the cops cut off to try to block him in."
The Burges said shortly after they saw the officer try to block the path of the truck, they heard gunshots. About 10 of them. The family feared for their safety and their neighbors.
"He could have hurt anybody," Kalyn Burge said. "He didn't have any regard for anybody else but himself. There could have been a child on the side of the road, and he could have swerved and hit it. As fast as he was going, it would have just killed someone instantly."
The Burge family said it troubles them that some people in the community are speaking ill of the officers.
"Anybody that is going to run from the cops, you never know how it's going to end," said Rhonda Burge. "I didn't see anything they did out of the way other than follow him and try to stop him without any drastic measures until they were forced to. I feel like we should appreciate and respect our law enforcement because on a daily basis they go out not knowing when they're going to put their lives on the line. I feel like they're being ridiculed by people they shouldn't be."
Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the investigation. Officials said they are interviewing witnesses, processing evidence, and waiting on results from the crime lab. They're also awaiting autopsy results. Officials said there was a woman who was a passenger in the truck who was injured. Officials were not able to update WLOX on the nature of her injuries or her condition.