LOUISVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/WLBT) - A birthday party with close to 200 people in attendance, violating Mississippi’s COVID-19 protocols, turned into the scene of a murder.
The Winston County Sheriff’s Department says a shooting Sunday some time before 1:00 a.m. left one man dead and another in critical condition.
“Very devastating for these folks’ families in the middle of the pandemic and Lord knows the spread of COVID that you may have had from that,” says Winston County Sheriff Jason Pugh.
Sheriff Pugh says the shooting took place at a club in Louisville on 200 Stockyard Road called The Edge that someone had rented out for a private birthday party.
“We believe there were as many as 200 people there, which quite obviously was in violation of all ordinances that are going on at this time,” Sheriff Pugh says.
The sheriff said there were shots fired inside and outside the club.
“It appears the shooting started inside the club,” he explained. “There was a mass exodus from inside the building, it spilled over into the parking lot where more shots were fired.”
All party-goers fled before law enforcement got to the scene. The two men each suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Law enforcement found shell casings for two different guns at the scene.
“It is possible there are as many as two to three suspects,” Sheriff Pugh says. “There are many people of interest at this point that we would like to speak with.”
Sheriff Pugh says the two victims were African-American males in their 20s and that they were taken to OCH Regional Medical Center.
“Both subjects were transported to the hospital by civilian vehicles,” he says. “No ambulance was called.”
One man died at the hospital while the other was flown to UMMC in Jackson, where he remains in their ICU.
“We do not know at this time if they were targeted or if they were victims of a random shooting,” Sheriff Pugh says.
The sheriff’s department says many of the people at the party were from the Starkville and Oktibbeha County area and that the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department and Starkville Police are assisting with the investigation.
Because of the strain the continuing COVID-19 pandemic is placing on medical facilities, Sheriff Pugh says there will likely be a delay on the autopsy.
“It may be as much as two weeks before they’re able to perform that autopsy for us,” he says. “So we’re still in the learning phases of that and that’s a key part of our investigation that may be at least a week in coming.”
Pugh says they are still searching for suspects in the shooting.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the sheriff’s departments for Winston (662-773-5881) and Oktibbeha (662-323-2421) counties or Winston County Crime Stoppers (662-773-3999). All callers can remain anonymous.