James Johnson II and his buddies were supposed to be playing golf Friday at the Oaks. But the group canceled that tee time and went back to Arkansas after a stunning development. Somebody shot and killed Mr. Johnson in his Isle of Capri hotel room.
Biloxi police say they have two people of interest they'd like to interview. But first, they have to find them.
Johnson was from Hot Springs, Arkansas. The 49-year-old arrived in Biloxi Wednesday for his group's eighth annual golf trip. That night, police say surveillance video shows Johnson in the Isle of Capri's casino. The next morning, he was found dead in his hotel room.
His golf partners realized there was a problem when Johnson didn't show up at their cars for the ride to their first golf course. They called the Isle's security team. And an officer when to the room, and found Mr. Johnson's body.
A day later, the 11 golfers from Hot Springs, Arkansas stood in a daze near the Isle's front entrance. They were all unwilling to talk about the shock of the previous 24 hours.
"The Duffers" were in town for a golf trip that was supposed to be so much fun. But their clubs never came out of their cars.
Biloxi police say the 49-year-old got shot twice in the abdomen. And his killer was still at large.
"We had several different leads taking us in different directions," Detective Darrin Peterson said.
By using evidence collected in the hotel room, and surveillance camera footage from the Isle of Capri's security system, Biloxi detectives were able to identify more than one suspect linked to Mr. Johnson's murder.
"The cooperation we got from the Isle of Capri. Without that, we'd still be way, way behind," said Peterson.
Late Friday morning, "the Duffers" jumped in their cars and headed back to Arkansas. They left knowing Biloxi police had a pretty good idea who was responsible for their golf partner's death.
"We've been able to narrow our leads down that we're following a good hot trail," Peterson said. "And I feel confident we'll be able to speak to some people in the next couple of days that may be able to shed a lot of light on what happened."
As of late Friday afternoon, Detective Peterson wouldn't release the names of either suspect in the murder case until he had them in custody. He also wouldn't speculate on what the motive was for the shooting.
According to the Mississippi Gaming Commission, this is the first murder case at a Mississippi casino.