Crime

Who fired first? Questions in fatal gun-shop shootout

Discarded police tape sits near McLemore Gun Shop in the Henleyfield community north of Picayune on Sunday Jan. 24, 2016. The owner of the store and his son were shot to death there by another father and son on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016.
Discarded police tape sits near McLemore Gun Shop in the Henleyfield community north of Picayune on Sunday Jan. 24, 2016. The owner of the store and his son were shot to death there by another father and son on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. SUN HERALD

PEARL RIVER COUNTY -- Investigators are trying to confirm who fired first and who shot whom in a gun store shootout that killed the owner and his teenage son and wounded another father and son.

Authorities say Jason A. McLemore, 44, and Jacob Edward McLemore, 17, were shot multiple times Saturday and died after an exchange of gunfire at McLemore Gun Shop in the Henleyfield community. James McLemore's wife was tending the store and had contacted her husband about a customer who reportedly was upset over a $25 service charge for a gun repair job.

Audy McCool, 52, and his son Michael McCool, 29, received life-threatening gunshot wounds.

Sheriff David Allison on Monday confirmed that Michael McCool was among those who fired shots at the business at 5374 Mississippi 43.

"He was one of the shooters but he was not the only shooter," Allison said.

Beyond that, he said no new details of the shootout are being released pending further investigation.

"Anything else would only be speculating," Allison said.

It's unclear if the store allows customers to bring in a loaded weapon or if the business has surveillance cameras.

Autopsies pending

The McLemores' bodies were taken to Jackson for autopsies, said Deputy Coroner Albert H. Lee.

"Both were hit (by bullets) multiple times, but which bullet killed each of them, I couldn't say," Lee said. "That will be determined in the autopsies."

No charges have been filed.

The gun shop is on Mississippi 43, just south of the Henleyfield Community Center and about 15 miles north of Picayune. The rural area, known for its fishing, hunting and boating, has a Carriere address and a population of about 2,000.

A state crime-scene unit joined sheriff's investigators at the store after the shooting was reported about 3 p.m. Saturday. They gathered evidence that included spent shotgun casings found outside the business.

The shop's front entrance was boarded up by Sunday and several crosses and condolence cards had been left outside.

Teen home-schooled

Jacob McLemore was home-schooled, said community members who recollected the gun shop property has been in his father's family for years. Jason McLemore's father had owned the property. The building had housed a grocery store, a video store and a convenience store with a BP gas pump and the gun shop for the past year or so.

People who know the family have said Jacob McLemore was talented at working with metal and leather.

They described Jason McLemore as a kind and fair person and said he was often sought after to repair firearms.

Authorities said Audy McCool was taken to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg and was scheduled for surgery, and Michael McCool was in stable condition Saturday night in the intensive-care unit at University Hospital in New Orleans.

No patient information was available in their names Monday, hospital spokespersons said.

SunHerald.com is working on an updated report.

Sun Herald reporters Regina Zilbermints, Wesley Muller and Justin Mitchell contributed to this report.

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