Gulfport man killed in officer involved shooting

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and Biloxi police are investigating a shooting that involved Gulfport police officers and left one man dead on Friday night.

Gulfport Police Sgt. Damon McDaniel confirms officers were responding to a shots fired call in the 12400 block of Holliman Circle in Gulfport just after 10 p.m.

According to Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Public Safety Warren Strain, 61-year-old Frank Rhodes was standing outside on the driveway of the house when officers arrived. Strain said a preliminary investigation shows Rhodes fired shots at the officers and the officers returned fire. Strain said two Gulfport police officers responded to the scene.

According to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove, Rhodes died at the scene from a gunshot wound to the head.

Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said this was an officer involved shooting, therefore, Gulfport police handed over this investigation to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and Biloxi's crime scene investigators.

Strain said Biloxi police sent a crime scene unit to the scene to collect evidence to submit to the crime laboratory, which is a standard part of the investigation.

Papania declined further comment pending the results of the investigation.

Papania confirmed Gulfport Police Department protocol requires a change of duty status for any officer linked to an officer involved shooting investigation. He would not say how many officers involved in Friday night's shooting had their duties changed until this investigation is finished.

When Harrison County District Attorney Joel Smith was asked about how many officers could be involved, he said, "That's something I can't release at this time just because it's still a pending investigation."

Smith said the facts and evidence collected by MBI and Biloxi police will be presented to a Harrison County grand jury. That could take anywhere from two to six months, depending on how long it takes to get forensic evidence back from the state crime lab.

This marks the fourth officer involved shooting death in South Mississippi since April.
On May 19, there was a shooting death in George County. On June 8, there was one in Moss Point and in Stone County a man was killed after exchanging fire with a sheriff's deputy on April 14.

Strain said MBI has completed its investigation on the George and Stone County officer involved shootings and turned over evidence to the district attorney. Now, the district attorney will determine where the cases go from here.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.