Thursday, February 17, 2005

One killed in shooting at Red Banks

Staff Writer

Marshall County Sheriff’s Department officials are puzzled by the shooting death of a clerk at the Texaco station in Red Banks and are investigating two shootings that took place at residences during the weekend, according to Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.

Deputies responded to a 911 call to the Texaco station shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday. Dickerson said they found the victim, Hefadhallahs Almuntaser, 31, of 4056 Highway 178 West in Red Banks, lying face up and with no apparent vital signs. The sheriff said it appeared he had at least two gunshot wounds to the chest and arm area.

Dickerson is asking for anyone with any information that may pertain to the shooting to call the sheriff’s office at 662-252-1311. Calls will be kept in confidence, he said.

As the incident appeared to be unfolding, a woman and her husband from the Tupelo area had stopped at the station. The lady got out of the car and before entering the station noticed what looked like fighting inside the station, Dickerson said. The couple went immediately to the BP station across the street to call 911. While making the call they heard what was thought to be gunshots.

Deputies investigating the shooting found the victim’s wallet still on his person as well as a firearm, Dickerson said. No money was determined to be missing from either the victim’s wallet or the cash register. What appears to be projectile marks were found on the ice cream box and Coke machine inside the store and on the front door, he said. The victim’s pistol was found with one round in the barrel and one in the clip.

Deputies are running the VIN number on a vehicle found in the parking lot that was untagged. Dickerson said it is not determined whether the vehicle was connected in any way to the incident.

A second clerk working in the store is shaken up and deputies have not been able to interview him, Dickerson said. The station owner was in flight from Jerusalem. Dickerson said he hopes the owner will be able to communicate with the clerk and find out what happened.

Also, a gas can was found in front of the store and investigators believe the person who was filling the gas can - a black male - could be a witness.

“We don’t know if he is a witness or a suspect,” Dickerson said.

The victim’s body was transported to the state examiner’s office for an autopsy.

Dickerson said deputies who are familiar with the store said the station has a top-of-the-line camera surveillance system with numerous cameras covering the inside of the store and the outside perimeter. But the cameras were not rolling, he said.

“It greatly hinders our investigation and development of a suspect,” he said. “That time of morning with little or no traffic and a tape not on greatly hinders our efforts to find a motive and identify suspects.”

In a separate shooting incident around or shortly after midnight on Saturday, deputies responded to a call at 128 Minton Road in the Byhalia area where a woman was severely injured in the right hand and head area. She was taken to Memphis for removal of numerous shotgun pellets. The victim’s husband, Wendell Todd, 40, was taken into custody by deputies and charged with domestic violence aggravated assault, Dickerson said.

A third shooting incident that occurred in the early morning hours Saturday at a residence at 69 Cathy Road is under investigation. Dickerson said a male subject was shot in the leg with a shotgun while asleep in bed.

Anyone with information regarding these or any other crimes is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 662-252-1311. All information and the identities of the callers will be kept confidential, Dickerson said.

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