HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The D'Iberville man who was pulled from the Tchoutacabouffa River this weekend drowned, according to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove. Monday, an autopsy was completed on James King.
Authorities say the 21-year-old jumped into the river Saturday while running away from police. Officers tried to persuade King to swim back to shore and one officer even jumped into the water to try and save him, but it was too late. King never came back up from the water. Several law enforcement officers and search and rescue teams were called in for the search.
It's the kind of tragedy first responders admit always takes a toll on them.
"At the end of the day when we take off the uniform, we are human and we take it home with us," D'Iberville Deputy Police Chief Clay Jones said. "You can't help it. We try not to, but we always take it home with us. We think about it, and you do lose sleep and you always think, 'What could I have done different?'"
"It's never an easy thing to have to pull someone from the water who has lost their life," DMR Marine Patrol Senior Master Sgt. Tommy Jennings said. "A lot of times, we are the ones that have to contact and deal with the family members and tell them we found them."
It is a heartbreaking death that could have been prevented, but instead many others had to put their lives on the line to recover the victim.
"We are diving in zero visibility waters," Jennings said. "So what we do is search grids with guidelines. We cannot see the body when we find it; we actually have to run into it."
Divers also had to deal with a lot of dangerous obstacles.
"We encountered a lot of vehicles in the water, along with debris from shrubs, boulders and rocks," Jennings said.
First responders hope this drowning serves as a reminder to everyone that the water can be dangerous, especially because the current changes constantly with the weather.
"Make sure you know where you are swimming," Jones said. "Make sure you know the hazards and prepare yourself accordingly."
Police believe King fled because he had several outstanding warrants for traffic violations.