The Daily Herald, Columbia, Tenn.
Columbia police continue to search for a man who fired on officers Saturday after the Columbia Special Weapons and Tactics unit carried out an infiltration of the suspect’s home Tuesday morning.
Jamal Jamel Gardner, 47, is wanted for attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault after he allegedly attacked his girlfriend at her home, shot at officers during a traffic stop and got away as they closed in around his property, just north of the county courthouse.
Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies continue to actively coordinate efforts to bring Gardner into custody and urge members of the public to remain vigilant and immediately contact 911 if they have any information related to the suspect’s whereabouts.
Four days after the shooting incident, police executed a search warrant of Gardner’s home at 305 West 2nd Street in Columbia with a special weapons and tactics team carrying out a dynamic entry into the residence.
Gardner was not found in the home during the operation on Tuesday.
On Monday night, the department made the decision to release the body-camera footage of Gardner firing on police a officer during a traffic stop at the driveway of 407 W 13th Street, a property also owned by the suspect.
The release of such footage is uncommon in the department.
“We want to bring him in as soon as possible,” Lt. Jeremy Haywood told The Daily Herald. “We know this could help spread the word.”
The footage shows a patrol officer exiting his vehicle after carrying out a traffic stop, allegedly involving Gardner.
The officer exits his vehicle and the camera shows the driver’s side door of a yellow pickup truck is open.
“Hey, buddy,” the officer says to the suspect before a flurry of shots ring out.
The policeman can be heard yelling “No,” as the first bullets are fired.
The responding officer takes cover at the rear of his patrol car as shots continue to ring out.
“Shots fired, shots fired,” the officer shouts over his radio. “He has got a rifle.”
More than 30 shots can be heard in the two-minute, five-second video.
The officer then appears to fire back.
“He has got me pinned down,” the officer says. “He has got me pinned down.”
In a moment of silence between shots, another officer says over the radio: “I am almost to you.”
The officer at the scene then says he thinks the suspect ran to the back of a house after the shots come to an end.
“I can’t see; I am on the curb,” he says.
The second officer then approaches at the scene.
“Check me to make sure I am not shot,” the first officer says. “I don’t think I am, I don’t feel anything, but I felt glass hit me. Watch these windows, I don’t know if he went inside.”
The second officer responds with, “I don’t see anything on you,” before the video ends.
Gardner retreated into the residence and fired several more shots from multiple firearms over a length of time at officers who were responding to assist, a department report said.
After shooting at the officers, Gardner fled on foot before police surrounded the location. The officer who initially stopped Gardner was not injured, although a bullet did hit his squad car.
Investigators said Gardner used multiple firearms over the course of the shooting and is believed to have fled on foot before officers could completely surround the home.
“The video clearly depicts the violent actions and dangerous potential of this individual that were unprovoked,” the department said in a statement. “We continue to ask the public to be vigilant and report any information that may aid in locating Gardner.”
Gardner has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top 10 Most Wanted. The TBI is offering a $2,500 reward for for information leading to his arrest. The Columbia Police Department is also offering an additional $1,000 for information leading to his arrest. He is identified as a black male with black hair and brown eyes. He is 6-feet, 5-inches tall and weighs 290 pounds.
Police said Gardner is likely on-foot somewhere in the immediate vicinity of the residence on West 13th Street.
The department urges citizens not to approach Gardner as he is considered to be armed and dangerous. Police say Gardner lives on West 2nd St. in Columbia and has a history of violent crimes. He is on parole for drug offenses.
“We need everybody to be observant,” Lt. Jeremy Haywood said on Monday. “If you see him, forward any information to us. Any one who has information that could help we welcome it.”
Any person with information that may assist in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Criminal Investigations Division of Columbia Police Department at (931) 560-1670.
Other options include the 24-hour line of Columbia Police Department Dispatch at (931) 388-2727, Maury County
Crimestoppers at (931) 381-4900, or send a Columbia Police SAFE Tip Email to SafeTips@ColumbiaTN.com.
Investigators request that tips not be submitted on the public thread of the department’s Facebook page. If submitting information on Facebook, the department requests it be done in the form of a private message.
Tips can also be called in to the Tennessee Bravura of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND.
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