MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A man who shot and wounded two Memphis police officers and then barricaded himself in a home that later was engulfed in flames had refused to negotiate with officers, authorities say.
The Commercial Appeal reports that police say Aaron Dumas — wanted on attempted murder charges — opened fire when officers tried to arrest him at a home in south Memphis on Tuesday. News video footage later showed the home with flames crackling through the rooftop and neighboring streets blocked off by emergency vehicles. Dumas’ body was later found in a bathtub inside the charred debris of the home.
Police Director Toney Armstrong told the newspaper that Officer Timothy Jackson, a five-year veteran, was struck in the leg.
Armstrong said the suspect then barricaded himself in the house. He said “numerous attempts” were made to get the suspect to come out of the residence, including throwing a communication device into the house, which the suspect threw back out.
Armstrong said officers then tossed a chemical agent into the home a few hours later — shortly before Dumas fired back, hitting a second officer, 15-year veteran Paul Hutchinson.
Both officers were released Tuesday night from the Regional Medical Center in Memphis.
After the second shooting, Armstrong said Dumas set the house on fire and remained inside.
A police spokeswoman did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press.
James Wilhite was walking near the scene when officers first attempted to enter the home.
“I heard one shot,” Wilhite told the newspaper. “Immediately following that, I heard a volley of shots. Then immediately after, an officer came out limping, supported by another officer. He was limping, noticeably in pain.”
Dumas is wanted in connection with a shooting last week in the south Memphis area, according to authorities. Police said a woman, believed to be a former girlfriend of Dumas was shot along with her brother following an argument with Dumas. A spokeswoman at the Regional Medical Center said Tuesday that the man and woman were hospitalized and in good condition.
Last year, Dumas allegedly set fire to an ex-girlfriend’s sport utility vehicle, according to an affidavit. He was accused of throwing an ignitable substance into the backseat of the SUV because he was “angry over a recent incident,” sparking a fire that also spread to another vehicle.
Authorities said Tuesday’s incident could have been worse.
On Dec. 14, city police Officer Martoiya Lang was killed while serving a drug warrant.
“Things can go very, very wrong very, very quickly” at such scenes, Armstrong said.