CLARKSDALE, Miss. — The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is leading the case into a deadly officer-involved shooting in Clarksdale.
The MBI said 41-year-old Patrick Bryant was killed outside a house on Clark Street around 9 p.m. Saturday.
Charles Harlow, 84, who lives in the home, found himself in the middle of what he describes as a shootout between Bryant and police.
“I was sitting right here in this chair and I heard shots. I would say four or five,” he said. “And my first reaction, I got up and found my handgun.”
Harlow said he went to his backdoor and saw Bryant’s body on the ground.
“I came to open this door, saw the gate halfway open and a body lying there,” He said. “I looked down and saw a pistol right at the bottom of my steps.”
He said a neighbor called 911 after Bryant tried to break into two homes on the block, and that he had a young boy acting as his lookout.
A few minutes later, the pair ended up in his backyard.
“I assume he was running from police and trying to find a place to hide,” Harlow said.
Clarksdale police aren’t commenting on the case, but Bryant’s estranged wife, Robin Bryant, said that Chief Sandra Williams told her on the phone Saturday night that Bryant was shot to death after pointing a gun at the officer who responded to that 911 call.
But Robin Bryant said she doesn’t buy it.
“All his life, he’s wanted to be a police officer,” she said. “He does security. I just don’t see that. That’s not in his character.”
She said the boy who was with Bryant was his girlfriend’s son, and even though she admits her estranged husband has had his fair share of legal troubles, she insists he wouldn’t do what he’s being accused of.
“If he got caught doing wrong, he would have accepted his punishment,” she said. “And he sure wasn’t gonna do the Wild Wild West with a child.”
After the shooting, Harlow tells WREG he overheard a conversation between the officer who shot Bryant and another investigator.
“I heard him tell them that he told this person to stop and the person shot and him and he shot back,” he said.
This wasn’t the first time someone was killed at Harlow’s house.
In 2015, he discovered his housekeeper’s body in her car outside his previous house near Claremont after she was shot to death during a burglary.
“It’s a remarkable coincidence,” he said.
Robin Bryant said her estranged husband was shot three times, and until she sees the bodycam footage for herself, she and the rest of his family won’t believe the officer’s story.
“There’s a lot of us wishing we had answers,” she said. “I just want to know, truthfully, what happened.”
The Mississippi Highway Patrol responded with the following statement:
“At the request of the Clarksdale Police Department, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the circumstances that led to a fatal officer involved shooting of a suspect Saturday night in Clarksdale.
At approximately 9:10 p.m., Clarksdale Police responded to a prowler call in the 300 block of Clark Street. Upon arrival, officers came into contact with Patrick Bryant, 41, of Clarksdale with Bryant being fatally wounded in a backyard of the 200 block of Clark Street. A weapon was recovered at the scene.
MBI Special Agents, assisted by the MBI Crime Scene Unit, will gather any and all relevant interviews and evidence as part of this ongoing investigation. Our investigative findings will be shared with the District Attorney’s office throughout the process for consideration and review.
As is our policy, MBI does not identify the officers involved in these types of incidents and instead refers questions of that nature to their respective department.”