Contractors shoot man stealing pick-up truck from work site - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Contractors shoot man stealing pick-up truck from work site

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Cortez Baker, 52 Cortez Baker, 52
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

 A man accused of stealing a pick-up truck was chased and shot, but not by police.

 Columbus police say contractors working at the Brown Avenue Bridge noticed a man was driving away in one of their trucks, so they got into another vehicle and followed it.  As they approached the intersection of Coffee Court and Palmetto Avenue, police say the suspect stopped and got out of the stolen vehicle with a gun in his hand.  It turned out the workers were armed as well, and that's when shooting began.

 Kathleen Moody lives on Coffee Court and heard the shots fired.

"It was like a big boom," Moody said. "We thought a transformer had blew or something.  We didn't know what it was.  We put the children in the house first because we didn't know what was going on.  Then we walked out of the carport to look, and we saw the man with the shotgun."

 The workers fired a shotgun filled with birdshot at the suspect and he took off running through several backyards. He was later apprehended behind a garage on Crest Drive. Police later discovered the accused thief was hit with many of the non-lethal bullets and never succeeded in firing a shot himself. Police said the gun in the man's hand was taken from the stolen truck.

 Frank Johnson saw an armed man running past his window.

"He was hiding," Johnson said. "I heard them tell him to raise his hands.  Then he was yelling, 'don't shoot me!, don't shoot me!'  Then the ambulance came and they took him off."

 Miles Ellis lives across the street from where the suspect was apprehended.

"When the cops got there, apparently he was pretending to be asleep," Ellis said. "He was bleeding from several superficial wounds to the back of his head and I guess he went quietly."

 Police interviewed the men who chased down the suspect and questioned them about the incident in detail.  After a thorough investigation, police determined that the men were within their rights to shoot at the suspected car thief.

 Neighbors said they are shocked to witness such a dramatic scene so close to their homes.

"It's a little scary, but we watch the cops drive through here all the time, so I know it will be okay," said Ellis. 

The suspect, identified as 52-year-old Cortez Baker, was released from the hospital where he was treated for three birdshot pellet wounds to the back of his head.  Police said he is currently in jail awaiting a court appearance Friday.

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