Two persons of interest eyed in Harrison County deputy’s shooting, sheriff says

Investigators have two persons of interest in Friday’s shooting of a Harrison County deputy but not enough evidence to make an arrest, Sheriff Troy Peterson said.

The shooting occurred on a dirt road just south of East Jordan Road off Mississippi 605, where the deputy had pulled over to handle paperwork.

“We wish the investigation was farther along than what it is now,” Peterson said.

The deputy was interviewed Monday and gave details similar to those he relayed after he was shot in the chest, the sheriff said.

But there are a couple of differences, Peterson said. The deputy recollects the man who pulled up behind him in an older-model white truck has brown hair, not gray, and has a dark brown mustache.

The sheriff has credited the deputy’s protective vest with saving his life.

After the shooting, the deputy was flown to the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile over concerns of possible internal injuries or broken bones. Peterson has said the deputy had a bruise six inches in diameter where the bullet struck his vest on the upper right side.

The deputy’s name is being withheld since the shooter has not been identified, Peterson said.

The deputy is at home and is doing well, he said.

The helicopter flight out of state has drawn questions over why the expense was necessary when a local hospital could have run tests. The sheriff said he’s heard the criticism.

“We don’t call the shots on medical choices,” Peterson said.

“We don’t tell hospitals or ambulances to send people any where. We’re not trained as medical personnel. That’s a medical decision.”

Peterson early on had said it was unclear if the deputy had internal damages or broken bones. The deputy was released from the hospital later Friday with pain but no serious injuries.

Except for the hair color, the suspect’s description remains the same: A white man in his 40s with a muscular chest, between 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-5 and weighing 250 to 300 pounds. He was wearing dark jeans and gray gardening-type gloves.

“We need anyone who knows anything to let us know,” Peterson said.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation of the shooting.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews