Harrison County

Deputy shot with his own gun has resigned after an 8-year career

Harrison County Sheriff says findings ‘inconclusive’ in deputy shooting

Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson and Warren Strain with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation answer questions during a press conference concerning the three-week investigation into the shooting of an on-duty Harrison County deputy.
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Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson and Warren Strain with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation answer questions during a press conference concerning the three-week investigation into the shooting of an on-duty Harrison County deputy.

A Harrison County deputy whose shooting led to a futile manhunt and no proof to back up his claim has resigned, Sheriff Troy Peterson confirmed Wednesday.

The deputy, shot in his upper right chest July 28 on a dirt road off Mississippi 605 and East Jordan Road, has not been identified. His name has been withheld.

The deputy claimed he was shot by a man in a white pickup who had stopped and approached him while he was writing reports. The bullet did not pierce his protective vest, but the impact gave him a large bruise.

An investigation has shown the deputy was shot with his own handgun and there was no evidence anyone was with him.

The deputy was placed on administrative leave for about 30 days and did not return to work, Peterson said.

The deputy resigned Sept. 1.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is still looking at the case, Peterson said Wednesday.

MBI typically provides independent investigations of officer-involved shootings.

Peterson declined to say if the deputy quit based on an internal affairs investigation or investigations by MBI and the Biloxi Police Department’s crime-scene unit.

“The resignation was based on his actions alone,” Peterson said.

The sheriff’s department spent more than 100 manhours looking for a suspect, Peterson said. Every law enforcement agency in neighboring areas also sent officers to help search in patrols immediately after the shooting.

The deputy had given a detailed description of the alleged shooter — his clothing and approximate age, height and weight; gray garden gloves he wore; wires hanging off the back of his truck, which had box-like headlights and front end.

Investigators questioned two persons of interest within four days of the shooting, but determined they were not involved.

The deputy told officials the pickup pulled up behind his back fender. The deputy was not wearing a body camera. The sheriff’s department had recently ordered body cameras.

It’s unlikely the deputy will be charged with the costs of the investigation.

If MBI should conclude that it was a bogus report, the crime would be filing a false police report, and that would be a misdemeanor, Peterson said.

It’s been about two years since a deputy on the Mississippi Coast was injured in a high-profile assault with an investigation that led nowhere.

Todd Frazier resigned from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department after reporting he was assaulted at a rest stop by two men who dragged him into woods in May 2015. Frazier had a cut on his forehead.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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