Suspect injured in shootout with law enforcement
|Written by Chris Case|
|Tuesday, 22 March 2011|
A standoff with law enforcement officers led to the shooting of a North County man last week. He was critically injured when police returned fire on the suspect, who was being sought after it was reported that he might attempt to harm himself or someone else with a gun.
The incident took place in the late evening hours of Thursday, March 17. After a report of a possible fight in progress at the ALPS parking lot in Cuba, the suspect sought in the incident—later identified as 27-year-old Bryan Harris—fled the scene. Authorities continued to search for Harris’ red truck, and later a report came in from the suspect’s father that Harris had jumped out of his moving truck and run into a wooded area near the intersection of highways 19 and F, north of Cuba. The father, Jerry Harris, stated that his son was suicidal and had taken medication in an effort to harm himself, and he was worried for his son’s safety.
A search of the area ensued, involving the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, Highway Patrol and other support agencies. Jerry Harris returned home to hear a gunshot fired from inside his residence. Harris was worried that his son had gotten home ahead of him and obtained one of his guns and might use it on himself or someone else. Upon hearing the gunfire, the father called police to the scene, and they arrived to hear another gunshot fired from inside the residence.
Law enforcement officers formed a defensive perimeter around the home, trying to encourage Bryan Harris to exit peacefully. The man came outside, went back in, and then returned to the front porch, carrying a pistol. He held the gun to his head, continued to yell at police, and then fired a single round into the air before going back inside.
Police reported that Harris went in and out of the house numerous times, firing several rounds of ammunition into the air or toward the ground before going into the backyard area, where he was seen with an assault rifle and a pistol. He tossed the handgun down and continued to hold the assault rifle to his head. The police tried to get him to give up his weapons and surrender peacefully, but he refused to do so.
At one point, Harris stripped off all of his clothes and began approaching law enforcement officers. He fired his assault weapon at a county deputy at close range, and the deputy returned fire, striking the suspect in the shoulder. Harris was reportedly shot several times in a burst of gunfire. The distance between the deputy and Harris was less than 15 feet.
Bryan Harris was flown by helicopter to a St. Louis hospital for treatment of his injuries. He was initially considered to be in critical condition, but his condition later improved and authorities believe he will survive the shooting.
The deputy who fired the shots has been placed on temporary paid leave. An investigation of the incident is being conducted by the Highway Patrol.
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