January 10, 2008
Deputy on leave after shooting
By SUE WATSON
The state medical examiner’s office has not released to authorities its findings in the death of Bailey Pearson, 34, of the Barton area following a shooting in self defense by a Marshall County deputy New Year’s Eve, according to Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
He said the deputy is on temporary leave with pay while the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation concludes an investigation into the incident.
The deputy was responding to a shots fired incident in a mobile home near the intersection of DeSoto Road and Highway 309 mid-afternoon, December 31, before the incident occurred.
“The deputy was met, subsequent to his arrival, by a white female who gave the officer false information stating that the suspect had run out the back door,” Dickerson said. “Following training procedures the deputy kept his guard up and attempted to locate the suspect responsible for shots fired within the mobile home.”
Suddenly the suspect, with almost no warning, appeared at the front door of the mobile home armed with a semi-automatic .45-caliber pistol, fully loaded and the hammer cocked, Dickerson said.
“The suspect had a pistol in his hand and raised it to the eye level of the officer after being told more than once to drop the weapon,” Dickerson said. “At this point, the officer shot the suspect in order to protect his own life and possibly the lives of others.”
The investigation following the shooting of the suspect indicated Pearson had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for probation violation issued by the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
“It was also learned subsequent to the shooting that the suspect had told close family members that he was not going back to the penitentiary in what was perceived to be a threatening manner,” Dickerson said.
The responding deputy was not aware the suspect was wanted on a violation of probation arrest warrant nor that the suspect had made threatening statements that he would not go back to prison, the sheriff said.
A thorough inspection of the mobile home after the shooting incident revealed numerous gunshot holes in the floor and walls and the television and broken glass in the home, Dickerson said.
Statements from a person whom the sheriff said he believes is a reliable source, suggests the suspect had self-inflicted gunshot wounds to his arm and shoulder prior to the deputy’s arrival, he said.
“Reportedly, the suspect had fired numerous shots the night before as well as the day of the incident,” Dickerson said.
Other evidence collected at the scene included several items of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia in the mobile home.
The female friend of the suspect at the house was debriefed and recapitulated the suspect’s shooting spree inside the house the night prior to, as well as the day of, the incident before the officer arrived on the scene, he said.
Dickerson said he requested an independent investigation by officers with MBI, which is routine after any shooting where an officer is involved.
“Their officer as well as a crime scene expert from MBI came to secure the scene and collect evidence to determine present and past facts,” Dickerson said. “Numerous items were collected for analysis and identification. The Marshall County coroner was also on the scene and took custody of the body of the suspect and transported it to Jackson for autopsy.”
After all reports are in hand from the evidence collected, toxicology workup and autopsy on the suspect’s body, MBI will present the report to the District Attorney for review.
Dickerson expressed regret at a loss of life but stands behind the action of his officer.
“I certainly, as sheriff, regret the loss of human life, but due to the circumstances as reported to me, I unequivocally stand behind the officer because he was put into a situation where he either had to kill or be killed,” Dickerson said. “The actions of the officer were consistent with good law enforcement training and his actions, in my opinion, not only saved his life, but after hearing remarks made by the suspect prior to the incident, could have saved the lives of others.
Dickerson said the mobile home was shot-up about as bad as any he’s ever seen in his many years of law enforcement.
In other matters, the sheriff said the suspect arrested and charged with the robbery of the Citizens Bank in Barton December 28, 2007, remains in custody in Memphis.
He reported the following burglary-related arrests for December and January:
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