Investigation Into Fatal Police Shooting Continues - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Investigation Into Fatal Police Shooting Continues

The trouble started at a gas station at the intersection of Highway 90 and Chicot Street. According to police, Edward Williams threatened the station's manager with a handgun but left after the police were called.

About an hour later, Officer Mike Byrd saw Williams' car at the King's Inn. A group of women in the parking lot at the time told police that just before Byrd pulled up, Williams threatened them with an assault rifle. As Officer Byrd tried to question Williams, the witnesses say he reached into the bushes and picked up the rifle once again.

Officer Byrd told Williams twice to drop the rifle according to Chief Mike Whitmore. When Williams did not, the officer fired three shots.

Officer Byrd is now on paid administrative leave which is standard procedure for all shootings.

Chief Whitmore didn't want to talk on camera, but told us "Our investigation shows this was a justified use of force, but this must go before the grand jury. It's the procedure in these cases."

It's also standard for police shooting cases to be presented to a Grand Jury. District Attorney Keith Miller has already seen some of the facts of the investigation and is preparing the case for the Grand Jury that's meeting right now.

"The officers will come in and testify. Not only will they be allowed to testify, but the statements of the witnesses will also be presented to the grand jury. So we'll know everything that occurred," Miller said.

"Because of the type of situations that law enforcement officers get put in on routine bases, this type of situation is going to arise. What we have to make sure is the investigation is done objectively."

Miller and Chief Whitmore say this case is especially sensitive since the officer is the son of the sheriff and the man he shot has relatives working in the police department.

Investigators are awaiting results of blood tests to determine if Williams was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the shooting took place Tuesday. The bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is also involved in the investigation. That agency is looking into whether the weapon Williams carried had been converted to an automatic version of the assault rifle, which is illegal.

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