Sheriff: Chase ends in suspect’s suicide

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2001

What began as a routine patrol for an Adams County sheriff’s deputy Wednesday evening turned into the pursuit of a stolen van – and ended in the driver’s apparent suicide. James C. Bonds, 40, 23 McRae Road in Natchez, shot himself during a confrontation with a deputy on Garden City Road in the Homochitto National Forest in southeast Adams County, said Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell.

Ferrell said Deputy James Pace was traveling south on U.S. 61 at 5:02 p.m. when he spotted a van headed north that had been reported stolen Jan. 26 to the Natchez Police Department.

After Pace tried to stop the driver, a high-speed chase began on U.S. 61 North to Kingston Road. The chase, reaching 75 mph, continued to Deerfield Road toward the national forest. When the road changed to dirt and gravel, Pace halted his high-speed pursuit but continued on Garden City Road.

At that point, Ferrell said, Bonds had been identified as a forgery suspect, and deputies suspected he was trying to reach Wilkinson County. State troopers were preparing to intercept the driver on U.S. 33 in Franklin County.

Pace began to return to Natchez on Garden City Road when he spotted the stolen van in the driveway of the Sandy Creek Wildlife Management Area headquarters, Ferrell said.

Pace stopped, and as he exited his patrol car, Bonds pointed a fully-loaded 38 caliber gun at him, Ferrell said.

When Pace drew his weapon, Bonds turned his gun on himself, Ferrell said. Bonds shot himself in the head, Ferrell said, and was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner James Lee.

As a matter of procedure, the state crime lab will perform an autopsy on the body, Lee said.