Crime

Man jailed in shootout with deputies facing new charges

Kenneth Wayne Beech, Jr.
Kenneth Wayne Beech, Jr.

HARRISON COUNTY -- A sex offender who officials said got into a shootout with deputies Thursday has now been booked on seven counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson said Friday.

Kenneth Beech Jr., 30, of Cleo Smith Road in Pass Christian, is jailed in Harrison County. Justice Court Judge Melvin Ray set his bond on the assault charges at $350,000.

Beech is being held without bond on felony charges of failure to stop a motor vehicle or felony fleeing, sale of a controlled substance and felon in possession of a firearm, as well as one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

Harrison County deputies were assisting Hancock County deputies serving warrants on Beech at a relative's home on Edwin Ladner Road when Beech opened fire on them and ran, still shooting at them as he headed into a wooded area. A K-9 officer captured him, and he was taken to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport for bite wounds, then jailed in Harrison County.

Deputies said they've recovered the handgun Beech shot at them with. No one was wounded in the shooting.

Investigators found more than a dozen shell casings near the mobile home deputies had approached to try to serve the warrant on Beech.

"I'm glad that nobody got hurt to include the defendant," Peterson said Friday. "All of the officers did a wonderful job. They did what they were trained to do and it worked out for our benefit."

Beech had an initial court appearance Friday morning at the Harrison County jail.

In December 2008, he was convicted in Connecticut of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl with force and the use of a controlled substance, according to the National Sex Offender Registry. he was released from custody on that charge March 5, 2012.

He had recently moved back to South Mississippi.

In March, he was arrested on two counts of failure to register as a sex offender.

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