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New details about Decatur man who shot himself during traffic stop

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DECATUR — Sworn statements from Decatur police reveal more details of the drama that unfolded when a man trying to hide a stolen gun from approaching officers managed to shoot himself with it.

Officers had pulled over a car the man was a backseat passenger in for speeding just before 12 a.m. Friday in the 700 block of South Jasper Street.

Officer Hannah Millington said that, as police approached, they heard a loud “pop” noise from inside the vehicle. “Through training and experiences the officers immediately recognized the ‘pop’ to be a gunshot,” Millington added.

She said officers immediately prepared themselves to deal with an active shooter situation and the three occupants, including the wounded man, were ordered out with their hands up.

“(The wounded man) complied and stated something similar to ‘I shot myself, the gun is right here,’ ” said Millington. “While he was exiting the vehicle a spent .45 caliber shell casing … fell out of the vehicle.”

Millington said a search of the car located the handgun and “the barrel of the firearm was covered in a red substance assumed to be blood.”

The affidavit does not describe where on his body the 26-year-old man was shot, but police later said his wound was not serious and he was later taken to the Macon County Jail after hospital treatment. He had apparently been trying to conceal the weapon in a map pocket at the back of one of the car seats when the firearm, previously reported stolen, discharged.

The man was booked on preliminary charges of the reckless discharge of a firearm, the aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a stolen firearm.

It was not the only gun officers said they found in the vehicle, however. The car driver, a 27-year-old woman, said she owned a 9mm handgun police discovered tucked into a purse and she was booked on a preliminary charge of the aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

A check of Macon County Jail records Monday showed that the man remained in custody with bail set at $25,000, meaning he must post $2,500 to be released; prosecutors had asked for bail of $50,000. The woman is free after posting $1,500 bond on bail of $15,000; prosecutors had wanted her bail set at $25,000.

All preliminary charges are subject to review by the state's attorney’s office.


Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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