Police believe a Rome man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound early Thursday morning after he led officers on a high-speed chase through Rome and Coosa.
Darrius Campbell, 33, was the driver of a vehicle Rome police initially tried to stop around 3 a.m. in connection with a report of someone pulling a gun at the Royal Inn, 1201 Martha Berry Highway, Floyd County police said.
The vehicle reached speeds up to 120 mph as it continued to travel west on Shorter Avenue and outside of the city limits toward Alabama.
Campbell turned around near Old River Road on Alabama Highway in the Coosa community and began heading east in the westbound lanes when he eventually hit a Jeep near Mays Bridge Road and ran off of the road, police reported.
Officers went to check on Campbell and heard a muffled gunshot come from inside the vehicle. After breaking into the locked car, they discovered he had what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police reported.
Police said they found a small-caliber handgun inside the car.
Campbell was pronounced dead by Floyd County Deputy Coroner Gene Proctor at 4:10 a.m. The body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab for an autopsy, according to Proctor.
The GBI is investigating the incident because the death occurred during a police chase.
Proctor said he won’t know the exact cause of death until the GBI provides the results of the autopsy.
Rome police Lt. Rock Pace said Campbell matched the description police were given for the suspect at the Royal Inn.
He said the responding officer’s report indicated there was a dispute about a drug transaction that led to an argument between a man and a woman.
Campbell allegedly pulled a gun and then drove off, Pace said.
The driver of the Jeep that was hit by Campbell was not hurt, according to Floyd County police spokesman Jerome Poole. He did not know what kind of vehicle Campbell was driving.
Previously posted: Update: Deputy Coroner Gene Proctor confirmed today that a Rome man involved in a chase early this morning on the Alabama Highway took his own life.
Proctor identified the man as Darrius Campbell, 33, of 1908 Maple Ave.
Previously posted: Floyd County police have issued the following press release concerning this morning's chase and wreck on Alabama Highway:
On May 28, 2015, members of the Rome Police Department were dispatched to 1201 Martha Berry Highway in reference to a man with a gun. While at the scene Rome Police Officers received information that a person had pointed a gun at another. As a result of the information received Rome Police Officers gave a lookout to all officers for a subject named Darrius Campbell and the type of vehicle he was driving.
A short time later Rome Police Officers observed the vehicle and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle fled from Rome Police Officers on Shorter Avenue heading west toward Alabama. Once the Rome Police Officer left the city limits, Captain Carl Lively took over the pursuit. The fleeing vehicle reached speeds up to 120 miles hour. After several miles of the pursuit the suspect lost control of his vehicle then turned around heading back east in the west bound traffic lane.
When the suspect vehicle came upon the Mays Bridge Road intersection, the vehicle struck a jeep then veered off the roadway running into a wooded area and striking power lines knocking them to the ground. The suspect vehicle came to rest in the front yard of a vacant house.
Captain Lively, immediately ran to the suspect, however could not see inside the vehicle because of the tinted windows and damage to the car when it wrecked. As Captain Lively was standing in the front of the vehicle he heard one muffled gunshot from inside the vehicle.
Rome Police Officers and Captain Lively both gave verbal command to the suspect, but with no response. Due to the vehicle doors being locked, Officers had to break the rear windows of the vehicle to gain entry because the vehicle was beginning to catch on fire and officers needed to verify the welfare of the suspect.
Once inside the vehicle, officers determined the suspect had an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and a small caliber handgun was located inside the car as well. Medical personnel and Coroner were dispatched to the scene to assist.
At this point the Floyd County Police Department requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate this incident. The scene was secured by on scene personnel until the arrival of Agents from the GBI.
Bill Shiflett, Chief of Police
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate the death of a person during a police chase on Alabama Highway this morning, according to the Floyd County Police Department.
According to Floyd County Police Department spokesman Jerome Poole:
The chase began after Rome police responded to a call that a 33-year-old Rome man allegedly pulled a gun on another person at the Royal Inn at 1201 Martha Berry Boulevard at approximately 3 a.m. The man, who has not been named yet, fled and the chase continued westbound on Shorter Avenue. Floyd County police joined the chase as the man continued into county jurisdiction.
At some point the man turned around near Old River Road and began heading back toward Rome on the wrong side of the road. The man struck another vehicle and their vehicle caught on fire. An officer on the scene used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire but the man died in the wreck.
Police have not released the identification of the man as of 11:45 a.m. pending notification of next of kin. Deputy Coroner Gene Proctor said he pronounced the man dead at 4:10 a.m. and he is sending his body to the state crime lab.