Harrison County

‘No physical evidence to suggest’ a second person on scene of deputy shooting, sheriff says

Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson on Friday said the three-week investigation into the shooting of an on-duty deputy has come to an end.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation’s findings are inconclusive. Peterson said that means that MBI cannot sustain or disprove the allegations that took place the day of the shooting. The case will remain open with MBI.

It also is considered closed by Biloxi Police Department due to an absence of physical evidence to support a second person at the scene of the shooting.

MBI communications director Warren Strain said some testimony showed the weapon that was discharged belonged to the deputy.

Peterson said the only comment he could make about the Biloxi Crime Scene Unit’s investigation is that “their findings were the absence of a second party on the scene besides the deputy.”

The sheriff said the deputy is still on administrative leave.

“Unfortunately, these findings have led to more questions than answers,” Peterson said. “It was my sincere hope that by this time we would have a suspect in custody or have more findings than we have.

“As I said before, evidence is what we rely on and lack of it is what we question. We go in the direction the investigation takes us. Therefore, finding the truth and attaining some sort of justice is our goal.”

The deputy was shot in his upper right chest July 28 after he had parked on a dirt road off East Jordan Road to handle paperwork. The bullet did not pierce his protective vest, but left a large bruise on his chest. He was airlifted to the University of Mobile Medical Center but was released later the same day.

At the time of the shooting, the deputy said he had been shot by a white man in his 40s with brown hair, a dark brown mustache and a muscular chest who left the scene in a white truck with a “box-like” front end.

MBI was the outside agency tasked with investigating the shooting, which is protocol.