Columbus man shot after alleged human trafficking operation

Published: May. 15, 2017 at 7:33 PM EDT|Updated: May. 15, 2017 at 10:44 PM EDT
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James Bullard. (Source: Chandler Morgan/WTVM)
James Bullard. (Source: Chandler Morgan/WTVM)
(Source: Chandler Morgan/WTVM)
(Source: Chandler Morgan/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – "It was a human trafficking thing," said Laketta Belin, the mother of James Bullard.

Belin said her son, who she calls PJ, called her from Midtown Medical Center early Saturday morning explaining he had been shot and was being treated for gunshot wounds that punctured his liver and lungs.

Belin said her son told her that he had met a new group of friends a week ago, who had asked him to borrow money for their business.

Belin said her son explained he went to meet up with them, two men and one woman, late Friday night on May 12.

"PJ said they told him they needed the money for their business, to post ad's and PJ had the money," said Belin.  "PJ was expecting something out of it. He thought I am putting all my money in and I was going to get something out of it."

Belin said Bullard told her once he was at the Extended Stay Hotel on Armour Road in Columbus, they pulled a gun on him and held him at gunpoint in the hotel room.

"These people needed money," said Belin. "They needed money to prostitute these girls."

Belin said her son explained he realized while being held at gunpoint in the hotel room throughout the night, the "business" was a human trafficking operation.

Belin says they stole her son's car and used his keys to get into his apartment.

Belin showed WTVM her son's apartment, which she said they ransacked looking for more money.

"They ripped his furniture," said Belin. "They were looking for the money and they found it. It wasn't much, but they found it."

Belin said the three people stole up to $500 her son kept in his apartment.

Belin said she believes the people involved could be driving her son's car- a red Toyota Camry or a white Crown Victoria, with a false license plate.

WTVM reached out to the Columbus police sergeant who has taken over the case, but have not yet received a response or a statement.

Columbus police say they continue to investigate the incident.

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