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Miss. police: Suspect used detective's gun to kill him, and self

April 05, 2013|By Michael Mello
  • Jackson, Miss., Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance, center left, comforts Chief Rebecca Coleman, center right, after the slaying of a detective.
Jackson, Miss., Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance, center left, comforts… (Greg Jenson / Associated…)

Mississippi authorities confirmed Friday that a Jackson police detective was shot with his own service weapon in what investigators say was a murder-suicide at police headquarters.

At the time of the Thursday night incident, Detective Eric Smith was questioning Jeremy Powell, 23, who was a suspect in a slaying.

"The detective was overpowered and shot with his own weapon," Warren Strain, spokesman for the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, told The Times.

Citing the ongoing investigation, Strain would not comment on whether other people were in the interrogation room or whether Smith was allowed to have a weapon in the room.

The county coroner's office completed autopsies on Smith and Powell on Friday. Strain said the preliminary results would not be made public until authorities had completed their investigation of the shootings.

Officer Colendula Green, a Jackson Police Department spokeswoman, confirmed the shooting deaths and said earlier reports that Powell had  shot Smith and was then shot by another officer were false.

Smith had served with the department for 16 years.

“He’d just been recognized as one of Jackson’s best,” Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. told reporters Thursday night. 

“Obviously the men and women of the Police Department are taking this pretty hard," he said. "They protect and serve every day. Obviously they don’t expect this kind of occurrence to happen, but they live with that possibility.”

Jackson officers observed a moment of silence at noon Friday, and they plan to hold a memorial for Smith next week.

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