Volunteer Fire Chief & Son Arrested In Jackson County

A South Mississippi volunteer fire chief is under arrest, charged with embezzling money from the department he ran.

Jackson County investigators say Charles Cunningham, the chief of the Three Rivers Volunteer Fire Department, embezzled more than $200,000. He's accused of using the money to fund his personal business - Merteck.

Cunningham had been the chief for the last six years. Sheriff Mike Byrd says all of the money taken out of the account was money the department could have used to better serve the Northeast Jackson County community.

"It leaves a fire department with a limited budget when it comes to equipment and stuff. They can't get the things they may need. It's pretty sad," Sheriff Mike Byrd said.

There's another twist to the story. Cunningham's 19-year-old son, Dakota, was also arrested and charged with shooting at another firefighter's home. Sheriff Byrd says he believes Cunningham was retaliating against the firefighter for helping in the investigation.