Suspect apprehended after police say he struck Yazoo City office - - Jackson, MS

Suspect apprehended after police say he struck Yazoo City officer with vehicle

YAZOO CITY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A Yazoo City police officer remains hospitalized after being struck by a vehicle following a pursuit.

The city's police chief said the driver of that vehicle was shot after he hit the officer. 

Family members of the suspect tell us they have too many unanswered questions here.

They don't think the shooting was justified.

"I have no problem with them locking him up and him being in trouble. If he did something wrong, you know, lock him up. But why did they shoot in the vehicle?" said Patrice Lofton.

It's a question several of 26-year-old Cruzette Lofton's family members are asking.

To answer it, you have to go back to what landed Lofton in the hospital in the first place.

Yazoo City Police Chief Jeff Curtis said at around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, one of his officers tried to initiate a traffic stop at 14th Street and Calhoun, but Lofton failed to stop.

"A pursuit was initiated inside the city. It wasn't a high-speed pursuit, but he just wouldn't stop," Curtis said.

From there, the chase went to Debbie Street where officers, several by that point, had Lofton cornered.

Then a detective walked up to the vehicle.

"The vehicle sped up in the direction of the detective. The detective from all my understanding was giving directions and was struck by the vehicle," Curtis said.

Curtis said shots were fired shortly afterward, but he couldn't say how many at this point.

He also could not conclusively say that the officer who was injured is the one who shot Lofton.

That bullet hit him in the back while he was driving away, according to family members.

Patrice Lofton said she thinks something more is at play here.

"Nobody's gonna just shoot at a vehicle because a person just for instance, just struck your leg. I understand that part. You lock him up. You shoot tires or something. But y'all shot in the vehicle, trying to kill him," Patrice Lofton said.

Curtis said those actions alone constitute assault on that officer.

"It's a two-ton bullet coming right at an officer, so justification to protect the officer himself is always present," Curtis added.

The officer's name will not be released.

At last check, he was in stable condition.

Curtis said Lofton awaits charges once he's released from the hospital.

His family said Lofton had been in prison on burglary charges as recently as last year.

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