Christopher Jones, 22, was arrested following a police pursuit down Government Boulevard at approximately 8:19 p.m. Sunday night. Jones fired multiple rounds at officers during the pursuit, which lasted from the intersection with Skywood Drive to Magnolia Road, ending after Jones’s vehicle struck a pole.
In a press conference the next day, Director of Public Safety Lawrence Battiste highlighted the restraint shown by Mobile Police Department (MPD) officer Roderick Miles as Jones shot “no less than 15 rounds” at Miles and his vehicle. Miles did not fire a single shot at Jones during the pursuit or after, when Jones began to flee on foot and continued firing rounds at Miles.
“Oftentimes, we have incidents like this and we’re talking about officers retaliating or taking the lives of individuals, but the officer showed enormous restraint,” Battiste said.
Battiste said the call had gone to MPD as a potential attempted suicide, which led to the police pursuit.
The weapon Jones used to fire at police was a stolen weapon from Georgia, Battiste said, urging gun owners to be responsible and keep their guns secure so they do not get into the wrong hands.
“We need to make sure that we do everything that we can to make sure that we keep these types of weapons out of the hands of people like Mr. Christopher Jones,” Battiste said. “His actions were heinous, they were cowardice. At some point, he discarded his weapon, after provoking officers to situations where potentially it could have been deadly for them, as well as for the officers.”
Battiste said Miles is a young officer and has been with MPD since last year. During the pursuit, he sustained minor injuries from broken glass and debris from his vehicle, according to police. In cases where officers are placed in traumatic situations, Battiste said counseling for the officer is sought out early on.
“He’s a young officer that took this job to improve the status of his community,” he said. “He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. He was placed in harm’s way.”
Jones was arrested for assault, reckless endangerment, shooting into an occupied vehicle and certain persons forbidden to possess a pistol. Battiste said his charges were upgraded to attempted murder and receiving stolen property.
Jones has had encounters with police before, including for robbery, and is on probation.
“Those things, they concern me — that we have to deal with someone that has shown a propensity to be violent in our community,” Battiste said. “We need to make sure that those individuals, when we can, that we keep them locked up. I believe in rehabilitation but I also believe in not continuing to repeat the same cycle over and over and over again.”
Battiste said the community should be aware that this outcome, where Miles did not fire back at Jones while he was under fire, is one that cannot always be expected. Jones put the officer and the entire community at risk.
“No one likes officer-involved shootings, but we can’t have this type of behavior in our community and not expect that at some point there will be an officer-involved shooting, causing the death of someone who fired at officers,” Battiste said.
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