By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Saturday afternoon, officers responding to a call of shoplifting at Wal-Mart had to deal with a suspect who refused to be taken into custody easily.
The suspect’s attempts to flee the area led to an officer being dragged and injured, and two vehicles being damaged, said Picayune Police Assistant to the Chief of Police Jeremy Magri.
In the end, 52-year-old Shelby Wayne Best of 202 Rollingwood Dr., and 28-year-old Zachary Davis of 171 Old Kiln Rd., were arrested on shoplifting charges, while Best faced additional charges for what happened during his attempt to flee capture, Magri said.
Officers responding to the shoplifting call at Wal-Mart were told that Best had fled the store and was in his vehicle attempting to leave the parking lot, but was caught up in traffic, Magri said. He said when officers arrived, they found Best was in his vehicle and attempting to leave the parking lot, and upon seeing the officers he locked his door and rolled up his window.
Officers gave him several verbal commands to open his door and get out of the vehicle, but he refused, forcing officers to use a baton to break out his front window, Magri said. With access now available to open the door, officers attempted to take Best out of the vehicle, Magri said. Instead, he accelerated his vehicle into a parking lane, dragging one officer, and forcing two others to jump out of the way, Magri said. As the vehicle dragged the officer, it struck a parked Harley Davidson motorcycle, Magri said. The owner of the motorcycle also had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit, Magri said.
The vehicle then smashed the motorcycle into another parked vehicle, and trapped the officer between the driver’s side door and the motorcycle, Magri said. The officer suffered scrapes to his knee in addition to bruising of his lower leg and ankle and serious abrasions to his hand, Magri said. The officer was treated for his injuries at Highland Community Hospital and Best was taken into custody, Magri said.
As the officers took Best into custody, they could smell intoxicating beverage on his breath and an inventory of his vehicle found a bottle of vodka, Magri said. Best was secured into custody and the officers then spoke with a loss prevention employee at the store, who said earlier that day the employee saw Best and Davis in the sporting goods department taking a GPS unit and a fishing knife before attempting to the leave the store without paying, Magri said.
The employee demanded they stop, a demand with which Davis complied, but Best fled on foot to his vehicle, Magri said.
Magri said Davis was charged with shoplifting, while Best faces charges of shoplifting, three counts of disorderly conduct, reckless driving, three counts of resisting arrest by fighting, resisting arrest by fleeing, three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of bonded whiskey, no proof of insurance, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, disturbing the peace, DUI and destruction of city property, Magri said.
A bond of $218,000 was set on Best for the charges, Magri said.