A Simpson County deputy was grazed by a bullet while trading gunfire with suspects in an alleged burglary in Braxton, while a wounded suspect is in critical condition.
Christopher T. Blackwell, 35, of Braxton, was airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center after being struck by a bullet when he and Austin Matthew McGrew, 21, were found on the scene of a burglary in progress call.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said around 1:15 p.m., deputies responded to the call at the intersection of Willow Street and Quail Ridge Road in Braxton, and upon their arrival, they were fired on by the suspects on scene.
One deputy was grazed by a bullet, Strain said, but the deputy's injury is non-life threatening.
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McGrew is in custody at the Simpson County Jail. Both McGrew and Blackwell are Braxton residents.
It's too early to speculate on why the suspects opened fire on the deputies, Strain said, but MBI's crime scene and reconstruction units and investigators are on the scene piecing things together.
Sheriff Kenneth Lewis called for MBI to handle the case, Strain said. Lewis has not yet returned a phone call seeking comment.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, the Simpson County Sheriff's Office has lost eight officers in the line of duty since its founding. The last one was Sheriff E.C. Mullins in 2001. Six of the eight were killed by gunfire.