Crime

Deputy in fatal shooting was met by an armed suspect, Harrison County sheriff says

A deputy shot and killed an “armed suspect” on Lake Vista Drive while checking on a stolen vehicle, Sheriff Troy Peterson said.

The name of the person fatally shot Monday night is being withheld until the family is notified, Peterson said.

The home is in the 18000 block of Lake Vista in a cul de sac near River Bend Drive.

Deputies were responding to a call about a stolen vehicle at the home about 6:58 p.m. when they were confronted by the armed male, Peterson said.

First responders were called to the home for a report of a man with a knife, an American Medical Response spokesperson said.

The sheriff said a deputy fired his weapon and the wounded suspect was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he died.

No one else was injured, Peterson said.

Details are unavailable on how the confrontation escalated into a shooting.

Residents of the subdivision told the Sun Herald it’s a mostly quiet neighborhood where children go out to play, ride bicycles and visit at other homes. Schoolchildren are out for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The subdivision of brick homes and manicured lawns is on the west side of Canal Road and two blocks south of where Orange Grove Road dead-ends. The rural neighborhood has a Gulfport address.

No one was at the home Tuesday morning.

Smiling scarecrows were hanging on the front porch, where a pumpkin decorated as a turkey sat on a patio table.

Neighbors said a grandmother lives at the home with her grandchildren.

Some neighbors, who asked not to be identified, said the subdivision is generally quiet and a safe place to live.

Neighbor heard ‘a loud pop’

“It’s overwhelming,” neighbor Stephanie Morris said of the shooting.

Morris, the mother of three children, said the subdivision has larger homes and children often play outside after dark.

She was cooking dinner Monday night with her back door open. Her two 7-year-old children were in the kitchen and her 5-month-old was in another room.

Morris said she heard a loud pop and recognized it as a gunshot.

“I locked my doors and went outside when I saw the first unit of deputies arrive. It wasn’t long before the streets were blocked with patrol cars. There were blue lights everywhere.

“My first thought was of the grandmother and the children. I hope they’re OK.”

Morris said she hopes the shooting will help bring the community closer together.

“Not in an intrusive way,” she said, “but so we are more a part of each other’s lives and can be there to help each other out.”

Deputy on leave

The deputy’s name also is being withheld, and won’t likely be released until after a grand jury reviews a report by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. That is how Mississippi Coast law enforcement officials typically handle officer-related fatal shootings.

Peterson said he placed the deputy on administrative leave with pay, according to protocol, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Ordering an internal investigation and turning an officer-related shooting over to the MBI are standard procedures, he said. MBI also sent a crime-scene unit to the neighborhood.

Peterson said the District Attorney’s Office and the Harrison County Coroner’s Office also are investigating.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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