Crime

Deputy shooting: ‘We’re back to square one’ on suspect, sheriff says

Both persons of interest in a Harrison County deputy’s shooting have been cleared, prompting the sheriff to again urge anyone with information to come forward.

“We’re back to zero, back to square one,” Sheriff Troy Peterson told the Sun Herald on Tuesday.

The deputy, whose name has not been released, was shot in his upper right chest Friday 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.

Investigators had two separate persons of interest, the sheriff announced Monday.

“We interviewed them last night,” Peterson said.

“They’re definitely not the people we’re looking for.”

Deputies, area police and state troopers began looking for a white, 1990s pickup once the injured deputy was able to describe the vehicle, Peterson said.

The sheriff said the lack of public interest in offering tips is disconcerting.

“It’s the biggest concern we have right now, that the citizens not only police us but they police themselves,” Peterson said.

“In any kind of crime we get in Harrison County, we get an abundance of calls. We’re just not seeing it. The lack of information is very concerning to us.”

The deputy was treated at a hospital and released. He is on administrative leave. His name is being withheld because a suspect is still at large.

“He needs to recuperate until we get through with this investigation, for his mental state, health and well-being,” Peterson said.

“I’ve been shot at, but I’ve never been hit. It has to be disturbing to be shot.”

The deputy has described the shooter as a white man in his 40s with brown hair, a dark brown mustache and a muscular chest. He’s believed to be between 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-5 inches tall and 250 to 300 pounds. He was wearing dark jeans and gray garden gloves.

The pickup was described as having box-like headlights, a box-like front end and wires hanging off the side of the truck, which could be a Ford or a Chevrolet.

The deputy was shot with a handgun but no information has been released on what type, Peterson said.

The deputy was reportedly shot around 11:15 a.m., after hitting his alert button. He told first-responders a truck pulled up to his bumper in the heavily wooded area and a man got out. The deputy said he got out of his patrol car and the man shot him. East Jordan runs parallel to Mississippi 605. The highway area is between White Star Road and Mississippi 67.

Peterson said he hopes someone will come forward or at least give an anonymous tip. Investigators also want to hear from any person or store that may have a video matching the description of the suspect and his truck either before or after the shooting.

To offer a tip, call the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department at 228-865-7060 or your nearest law enforcement agency. Or submit an anonymous tip online to Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers offers a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to a felony arrest.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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