Columbus man killed in shootout with police in Manchester

(Photo credit: Dante Renzulli)
(Photo credit: Dante Renzulli)
(Photo credit: Dante Renzulli)
(Photo credit: Dante Renzulli)
(Photo credit: Dante Renzulli)
(Photo credit: Dante Renzulli)

MANCHESTER, GA (WTVM) - It began with police attempting to return a lost item to its owner and it ended with a man dead.

Residents who live nearby say dozens of police officers rushed to the scene, and even more spectators came to watch the action.

"There was just a bunch of people out here running around.  There's never been that many cars around here," said neighbor, James Harris.

"We came outside and we're seeing cops and stuff chasing this guy into the woods.  They couldn't get him.  The guy was very upset.  We heard him making noise and saying some things back and forth," said Kim Gomez, who lives across from the crime scene.

According to officials, officers found a suitcase lying on the side of the road and traced it back to an address in this neighborhood.  As police arrived, they say a man began shooting at them from a nearby wooded area.  Further investigation revealed the man had the wrong license plate on his car and he was worried that police were there to arrest him.  The suspect was killed after holding police at bay for at least an hour.

"The deceased is actually on the other side of the barn.  This is actually where the shooting exchange took place.  The officer was up in the wooded area behind the barn, pursuing him down to this area," said Wayne Smith of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Investigators believe the man was visiting a woman who lives on that street and the two possibly had an argument which led to his suitcase being thrown out of a car while driving through town.

"It was kind of scary.  We were praying for him because it was kind of bad.  We've never had anything like this so close to our home," said Gomez.

"At this point we're in the phase where we're collecting information, collecting physical evidence, documenting the scene, and as we're doing this, interviews are going on back at the police department.  Agents there are interviewing the people that were involved and the people who were present," said Smith.

Officials are investigating why the man was using the wrong license plate and are checking to see if he was wanted for more serious crimes.

The suspect's identity has not been released, but police did say he is from Columbus.  An autopsy on the body is incomplete, however, police are guessing the suspect was under the influence of substances that would cause a person to act paranoid.

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News Leader 9 and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations are on the scene of a shootout between a Columbus man and the police that took place on Friday morning in Manchester, GA.

We're told that the incident began when police went to return a suitcase that had been found earlier.

A Columbus man was visiting a woman who lives down the street from where the incident occurred. The woman threw a suitcase containing his belongings out of the car while they were driving around town.

 Police found the suitcase and some identification that led them to the woman's residence. They went to the woman's house to return the suitcase when they saw a plate on a car that was stolen.

The police were with the victim when the man approached, who had been hiding in the woods nearby when they arrived. We're told the man was under the impression the police were after him and began firing shots at the police.

Police returned fire and chased the man through a wooded area. They surrounded the woods and caught up with the man at a barn near Nebula Road and Broxton Lane. The police exchanged gunfire with the man, and tried to convince him to come out, but the man was eventually shot and killed. No police officers were injured.

At this time, authorities have not released the name of the man.

We'll have more on this story coming up at 5 and 6.

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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