Man shot in pawn shop, police incident had sought mental help, attorney says

A man shot in a confrontation with pawn shop workers and police in downtown Gulfport had recently spent two weeks in a hospital for mental health treatment, his family and attorney say.

He had been home two days when his mother noticed he was still having problems. She said she took him to a hospital but the hospital wouldn’t keep him.

The next day, the 28-year-old man was wounded by gunfire. Pawn shop workers and police have told the Sun Herald they fired shots at him late Monday afternoon.

Anthony Moody is accused of smashing a glass gun case with a sledgehammer at 24-Hour Quick Cash & Pawn and stealing a gun before the melee began on Monday. He was shot as he was leaving the pawn shop on 25th Avenue — also known as U.S. 49 — at the corner of 21st Street.

Whose gunshots wounded him is under investigation.

Glenda Moody says she had taken her son to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport for help on Sunday but he was discharged about two hours later after a mental evaluation.

“They said he was stable and they sent him home, and now this,” said his sister, Samantha Moody. “Everybody who knows Anthony is in shock. Everybody. He has a great heart and he is so sweet.”

Anthony Moody, who lives with his mother, has suffered from mental problems, including paranoia, since he was 4 years old, but has never shown signs of violence or harmed anyone, according to his family.

The Moodys said he has bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. He has been in and out of hospitals most of his life, but is generally a pleasant person, relatives said.

The family says his alleged actions on Monday are out of character for him in spite of his mental illness.

“I’m shocked myself,” said his mother. “I’m so hurt and depressed. I can’t stop crying.”

Anthony Moody remains hospitalized following surgery. He was shot twice from behind, with one bullet shattering an arm and the other entering his abdomen through his back, attorney Michael Crosby said.

Crosby said he was finally allowed to see Moody on Wednesday, speaking to him with three police officers present and they were taking notes. Crosby said no visitors had been allowed, except for a probation officer, on police orders to the hospital for medical reasons.

“They say he’s under arrest,” Crosby said.

Moody will be charged with two counts each of armed robbery and auto burglary and one count of possession of a weapon after a felony conviction, according to Crosby.

“I have been knowing this fellow for a long time, and despite the mental issues — and obviously I could be wrong — I just don’t see him shooting anyone for anything,” Crosby said.

His mother had tried to get him into a local mental health facility earlier this month through a crisis stabilization unit, but could only find a bed available at Alliance Health Center in Meridian. They hoped the hospital stay would get him back on track.

“He had been flipping out, like paranoid people will do, and it was so hard to see him that way,” his sister said.

Anthony Moody has had two felony convictions but no history of violent crime, his attorney said.

Moody was convicted on accessory after the fact to a drive-by shooting in 2008. Moody gave a person a ride, not knowing the person had just committed a crime, Crosby said. Also, Moody is on probation for a cocaine conviction from an arrest in 2012.

His family says they’re having a hard time understanding what happened and why.

“That’s one of my baby boys,” said his father, Sammie Summit. “He’s never meant harm to anyone. I want to know what happened.”

Police Chief Leonard Papania said he did not know the answers to media questions before he turned the case over to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

“I think something really crazy happened,” Crosby said.

Crosby said he has suspected someone other than police were “shooting wildly” at Moody.

For instance, a large-caliber bullet pierced a car and landed near a child’s car seat, Crosby said. The child’s father had taken him to a nearby barber shop.

“I have a difficult time believing that the Gulfport Police Department would be that reckless, which made me suspect other shooters,” he said.

“It’s a wonder no one else was shot or killed.”

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews