COVINGTON - A Covington Police officer is on paid administrative leave following a foot chase Tuesday night during which he discharged his firearm, according to CPD Detective D.J. Seals.
"A round was fired. The suspect was not hit," Seals said Wednesday morning. "The incident is currently under internal review, which is normal practice."
Seals said officers are aware that any time a firearm is discharged, the incident is automatically reviewed by internal investigations as part of normal procedure and protocol.
At the end of the evening, Earnest Corbett III, 29, of 309 Bonner St., Monticello, was arrested and charged with driving without a license, obstruction or hindering a law enforcement officer, forgery in the second degree, fleeing or attempting to elude police officers and noise violation.
The incident occurred about 10:30 p.m. when another officer stopped a 1990 Honda Accord after he heard extremely loud music blaring from the vehicle heading down Brown Bridge Road.
The officer reported that the suspect failed to immediately stop and then when he did stop in the driveway of Solid Rock Baptist Church, he failed to comply with instructions to stay inside his vehicle.
"I ... informed Corbett to shut the door (of the car) and stay inside his vehicle," the report states. "I then observed Corbett open his door completely and exit the vehicle. As he was exiting the vehicle, I continued to give verbal commands for him to get back inside the vehicle and shut the door. At this time I was approximately 20 feet away from Corbett. He then turned his back toward me and would not comply with my commands. (He) placed his hands on the top of the vehicle above the rear door for approximately one second and then pushed up off the vehicle and ran north out of the driveway and turned east on Brown Bridge Road."
During the ensuing foot chase, backup arrived from other CPD officers, the Newton County Sheriff's Office and the Porterdale Police. A CPD officer radioed that he spotted the suspect as he fled into a wooded area.
"I ... approach(ed) the place where both the subject and (police officer) entered the woods. At that time I could hear (the officer) giving verbal commands to Corbett to stop and get on the ground. I could hear (the officer) repeating these commands several times to Corbett. At that time, I was approaching the pathway into the woods when I heard a gun shot from inside the woods. I then drew my service weapon and called out on the radio that shots were fired. As I turned onto the pathway into the woods I could hear (the officer) telling Corbett to get on the ground. Due to poor visibility and darkness I could not see (the officer's) location. I then turned on my flashlight and observed (the officer) about 20 to 30 feet in front of me with his service weapon drawn. Corbett had stopped running and was getting on the ground face-first with his hands under his waist."
The report goes on to say the two officers had to physically restrain the suspect in order to get him in handcuffs. The suspect complained he could not breathe and EMS was called to "verify that he was not injured. EMS arrived on scene and cleared Corbett."
Upon searching Corbett as part of the arrest procedure, officers discovered $1,520 in counterfeit money consisting of 20 $50 bills and 11 $20 bills. It was also determined his driver's license had been suspended.
Barbara Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.