MADISON COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - After ten hours of authorities watching and waiting, flashes of light and a plume of smoke rose up above South Hampton Circle around 11:00 Friday night. SWAT team members had finally entered 46-year-old Keith Mitts house and found him dead inside.
"We were prepared if it took one day, two days or whatever. For all our officers safety we did not want to go in there until it was a last resort," said Madison County Sheriff Toby Trowbridge.
It all started at the Pine Grove Behavioral Center on Key Drive in Madison about noon Friday. According to Madison Police, Mitts was in counseling with his wife when he threatened with a weapon.
Madison Police were contacted. While Mitts' wife, Irina, filled out an affidavit at the police department, officers rode over to Mitts' home.
"Before the officers, who were still in the street, had any chance to make contact with the subject at which time he commenced firing with a weapon," said Madison Police Chief Gene Waldrop.
Officers returned fire. Bullet holes are visible on Mitts' Hummer in the driveway and blood stains the concrete. Mitts was no stranger to high powered weapons. On his Facebook page video was posted of Mitts firing an automatic weapon. His profile picture shows him holding an assault rifle.
"We had reports of heavy weapons and paraphernalia with him," said Sheriff Trowbridge. "This is one of these situations where extra caution was used for safety."
All residents in the area were evacuated. SWAT officers with Madison and the Mississippi Highway Patrol set up armored vehicles along the street. For ten hours they waited without any communication from Mitts. Then officers made their move.
"They threw some flash bangs in there, the opportunity arose to go in a little further," said Trowbridge.
A fire broke out inside the home. So far, no word on what sparked the flames. It is still unclear how Mitts died. An autopsy will reveal whether his fatal wounds were self inflicted.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations has taken over the investigation because of Madison Police and Madison County Sheriff's Department's involvement.
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