Family of Gulfport shooting victim speaks out

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and Biloxi police are investigating the shooting death of 61-year-old Frank Rhodes. Rhodes was shot and killed by Gulfport police officers on Friday night. The man's family says what happened is still unclear.

Just after 10 p.m. on Friday, Gulfport police officers responded to a call of shots fired at the 12400 block of Holliman Circle. According to the MBI, Rhodes was standing outside on the driveway of his step sister's house when officers arrived. MBI officials say a preliminary investigation shows Rhodes fired shots at the officers and the officers returned fire.

Rhodes was struck four times by bullets fired by officers, and Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove says it was a shot to the head that killed him.

"When I got to the scene, the body was gone, but my concern is why he shot him so many times. That's what my concern is," said Hazel Rhodes, the victim's wife.

Harrison County District Attorney Joel Smith says in these types of cases what routinely happens, and what happened in this case, is that the agency of the officer involved turns over the investigation to outside agencies.

"The facts and evidence collected by the MBI and Biloxi Police Department will be presented to a Harrison County grand jury," said Smith.

The victim's family says Rhodes was a loving husband, father and grandfather.

"My dad was an awesome guy. He always spent time with his grand kids. If anybody asks him for anything, he was there for them. If the lady next door asks him to mow the yard, he would mow the yard," said Lashanna Rhodes, the victim's daughter.

For Rhodes' family, this Father's Day will no longer be a celebration.

"We were supposed to have had a barbeque, and the family was going to get together and remember all our dads, but now we canceled the barbeque and family is just going to gather together," said Lashanna.

According to Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania, department protocol requires a change of duty status for any officer linked to an officer involved shooting investigation. Papania said he wouldn't offer any details about the officers involved or any changes to their assignments until this investigation is finished.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.