Wiggins Residents Shocked, Saddened By Killings

Gloomy skies Monday morning reflected the mood of downtown Wiggins, the day after two police officers were shot to death during a domestic dispute.

Brandon Breland and Odel Fite were shot to death after responding to a call on First Avenue on Sunday night.

Ronald Husband was arrested and charged with the killings.

Talk of the tragedy quickly made the rounds in small town Wiggins.

"On the way to work this morning, I saw a lot of police vehicles on my normal route to work. And anytime here in Wiggins you see that many vehicles, you know something's wrong," said Don Culpepper, who owns the Whistle Stop Cafe in downtown Wiggins.

The restaurant is always crowded, but lunchtime conversation on Monday was more subdued. Just hours after the shootings, it was still hard for folks to believe.

"I know this happens all the time throughout the United States. But in a small community like Wiggins, everybody is friends. We're all close. And it's just a real tragedy," said Culpepper.

"Simple as I can put it, both of them were just good friends. They were good people," said Stone County Sheriff Mike Farmer.

His deputies were among the first on the scene after the officers went down.

"Our guys, men and women both, are just devastated. We lost two friends, so, it's just hard. It's hard on everybody up here. PD guys plus the sheriff's department," Sheriff Farmer said.

Residents we talked with are both shocked and saddened by this tragedy. After all, the last time anyone can recall a Wiggins officer being killed in the line of duty was decades ago, in the 1960s. Now, a single crime leaves two officers dead. As one woman told WLOX News, "it's the kind of thing you might imagine happening in a big city, but not our small town."

Public safety workers throughout the county are doing their best to cope. Although the job demands putting lives on the line, the reality of that sacrifice is still unthinkable.

"It's very somber. In a small community like this, we're all on a first name basis. We know each other very well. We work closely. Last night was a very tragic time in our lives," said Wiggins fire chief, Alan Hatten.

Special accounts have been set up in the officer's names at the Bank of Wiggins, for anyone who might like to help with funeral expenses.