Questions swirling after pedestrian hit, killed by Gulfport officer

Questions swirling after pedestrian hit, killed by Gulfport officer

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi Police Department is moving forward with its investigation into the accident involving a Gulfport police officer that claimed the life of a pedestrian on Hwy. 49 Thursday night.

Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said investigators are preparing to do a complete accident reconstruction, part of which will be done at the scene. Miller said if the highway has to close for the reconstruction, it will only be for a short time.

"Once you get your measurements and you know where everything is, you can do a lot of the investigation at the station, but the basics will be done out there," Miller said Friday morning. "It will be just like any other investigation. We will base everything on facts. We won't leave a stone unturned."

Miller said after the investigation is complete, the findings will be turned over to a grand jury.

The fatal accident happened around 6 p.m. near the Walmart by Airport Rd. We're told the pedestrian was walking on the highway when he was hit by the police vehicle. Witnesses said the officer involved immediately got out of the vehicle and performed CPR on the man.

A witnesses said the officer was speeding and the vehicle did not have its emergency lights flashing at the time of the crash. Officials have not said how fast the officer was driving.

Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said he plans to hold a news conference at the police department Friday to address the situation.

One subject that came up in the hours following the accident is poor lighting in the area. Many say the lighting in that area is too dim for the number of pedestrians that walk along the road there.

One Facebook commenter suggested installing pedestrian activated crosswalks with flashing lights.

Gulfport Councilman R. Lee Flowers said he addressed the poor lighting situation at a recent city council meeting.

Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said an autopsy on the body of the 54-year-old man is scheduled for Friday morning. His identity will be release once the family is notified.

We will continue to follow this story throughout the day. You can find the latest details on this investigation on WLOX News Now and WLOX.com.

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