Desoto County News

More details on Olive Branch officer-involved shooting investigation

Photo: DeSoto County District Attorney Matthew Barton speaks to a reporter Tuesday morning, March 12, in front of the County Courthouse in Hernando. (Courtesy photo_

DeSoto County District Attorney Matthew Barton offered more details about Monday’s arrest of two people in connection with an officer-involved shooting incident in Olive Branch.

Colby Towles

Colby Towles of Olive Branch is accused of firing at two Olive Branch police officers who were conducting a traffic stop early Monday morning on Goodman Road. Towles was on a motorcycle and drove by, then allegedly turned around and came back to the traffic stop and fired a gun at the officers before he left the scene. No officers were hurt in the incident that had one officer returning fire at the suspect.  Towles was later found and arrested in Springfield, Missouri, officials said, with investigators from the Olive Branch Police Department traveling there to initiate the extradition process to bring Towles back.  

Sarah Skriver

Overnight Monday night, it was announced that Towles’ girlfriend, Sarah Skriver, age 33 of Olive Branch, had been arrested and was charged with being an accessory after the fact. Skriver was being held in the DeSoto County Adult Detention Center on a $150,000 bond.  

In talking with DeSoto County News and WREG-TV Tuesday morning, Barton said he will receive the case after the Olive Branch police have completed their investigation.  

“He was captured without incident through the local police and U.S. Marshal’s Service in conjunction with the Olive Branch Police Department,” Barton said. “He’ll be brought back to DeSoto County, have a bond hearing and a preliminary hearing in the lower court. Whenever the Olive Branch Police Department is comfortable that they’ve put everything together they will hand the case over to me and we’ll take over.”  

Barton said Towles has a criminal history, but not a lengthy or significant one.  

“In 2007 he had a hit and run, was a juvenile but was charged as an adult,” Barton said. “The next year, in 2008, he had a simple assault misdemeanor and in 2012 he had a couple of traffic violations. There’s not much in the way of felony history or convictions.” 

Barton said Towles is being charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, but said those charges could be changed.  

“As we finish looking at all the facts and get done working out the details, we may want to charge him with attempted murder instead,” Barton said. “After all, this was a shooting. I can’t think of a good reason to shoot at somebody if you’re not trying to kill them. But it’s still too early to say.”

Barton did credit the Olive Branch Police Department for the work they did investigating the case and finding Towles and Skriver.  

“They are a very proactive department. It’s hard to maintain composure when one of your own is victimized in this way, but they did a really good job.”

Barton added Olive Branch police acted very quickly in searching the area for video and witnesses to the shooting. Search warrants for cell phones and property were part of the investigation that helped determine the suspect.