BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A Grand Jury this week cleared three Biloxi Police officers in the shooting death of Wesley Sheppard, 37. The Biloxi man was killed March 10 near the Popp's Ferry Bridge. Officers were initially called to the scene after getting reports that a man was discharging a gun on the bridge.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation led an investigation into what happened, and if the officers acted properly. This week, Grand Jury members looked at the evidence and announced their decision, saying, "The Grand Jury finds no criminal conduct on behalf of the officers involved from the Biloxi Police Department and further finds that their actions were appropriate."
Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said all three officers are law enforcement veterans. One has been a police officer for 12 years, and the other two have been officers for nine. All three have returned to duty.
Harrison County Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker wouldn't say whether the victim shot at Biloxi police, and he couldn't say how many shots officers fired at the victim, or how many hit Sheppard. Parker said state law forbids anyone from confirming what was shared with grand jurors.
"An independent investigation was completed by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations," said Parker. "Their full investigation was presented to the grand jury."
One witness to the shooting told WLOX News Now that Sheppard was out of control that night. The rear window to William Linville's van was shattered by gunfire as he drove over the bridge. Miller tells us Sheppard was shooting an air soft BB gun that night.
"I thought he was killing mass people on the bridge," said William Linville. "I thought he was going to kill everybody in every car, and that's what I told 911."
Linville was on his way home, with his granddaughter and her friend in the back seat, when he saw cars backed up with a man in the middle of traffic.
"He walked to the middle of the road to stop traffic this way, held the rifle up," said Linville. "The two cars accelerated to leave, I accelerated and he turned with one hand and blew the back window out head level with these two girls in the back."
Not sure if one of the girls had been shot, Linville immediately called 911 while speeding away.
"I told them there was a man on the bridge shooting people, to get somebody here quick," said Linville. "My window had been shot. I had two girls in the car. Before I turned into Antole Bay Apartments, I saw blue lights coming."