Crime

More than a dozen shell casings found at scene of shootout

JUSTIN MITCHELL, WESLEY MULLER and JOHN FITZHUGH

SUN HERALD

Weapon found, man arrested after shootout

Harrison County deputies exchange fire with suspect after serving arrest warrant, K-9 officer makes arrest
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Harrison County deputies exchange fire with suspect after serving arrest warrant, K-9 officer makes arrest

HARRISON COUNTY — A K-9 officer bit and took down a man who opened fire on deputies and then ran, still shooting, into the woods Thursday, Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson said.

Peterson said Harrison County deputies were assisting Hancock County deputies in serving warrants on Kenneth Beech Jr. at a family member’s mobile home on Edwin Ladner Road.

“When the officers pulled up, he immediately started shooting at officers,” Peterson said.

Kenneth Beech.jpg
Kenneth Beech

Peterson said Beech was still firing at deputies as he ran into the nearby woods, and the deputies were returning fire.

Beech was caught about a half-mile away, Harrison County sheriff’s Capt. John Marr said.

Marr said the handgun Beech had fired at authorities was recovered by investigators.

Hancock County Chief Deputy Don Bass said deputies assisted Harrison County in the search for Beech. The Harrison County K-9 apprehended him about 5:30 p.m. Deputies told the Sun Herald all available units were dispatched to the scene.

Police blocked off the area of N. Ladner Road at Edwin Ladner Road during the shootout. Afterward, investigators were using orange flags to mark areas near the mobile home where more than a dozen gun shell casings were found.

Peterson said Beech was taken to an area hospital for a dog bite. He was then expected be taken to the Harrison County jail.

Beech was arrested Thursday on his felony warrants — for possession of a controlled substance, possession of a firearm by a felon and felony fleeing. Peterson said other charges relating to the shootout are expected.

Beech’s aunt Shamala Stephenson said her nephew is a sex offender and was out of prison on parole. He’d recently come back to South Mississippi from Connecticut.

He also had been arrested in March 2014 on two counts of failure to register as a sex offender.

Nobody was wounded or injured during the shootout, Peterson said.

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