JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones said an officer is believed to have killed one of the alleged shooters at the Mississippi Mudbug Festival Saturday night.
“We believe… that the victim that is deceased was actively involved in the incident that was reported regarding the gunfire,” he said. “I will not reveal the name or the agency the officer is affiliated with. That is something that will come out… at a later date.”
Dozens of law enforcement officers from multiple agencies responded to the Mississippi Fairgrounds late Saturday night after shooters opened fire near the Mississippi Trade Mart around 10 p.m.
At least five people were shot, including the deceased.
Four people were transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for treatment. Three were said to be in stable condition. The condition of the fourth victim was unknown.
“We are still checking other hospitals to see if other individuals had been shot and were transported by private vehicles to other hospitals as well,” he said.
Jones spoke to the press around midnight in front of the Oyo hotel building. He was unsure what led to the shooting and said more details will likely come out during the course of the investigation.
“There was an exchange of gunfire between at least two to three individuals in and around (a) vehicle at this location. During the course of the exchange, at least one of these individuals fired multiple rounds, multiple shots, toward the midway area of the event that was in progress,” he said. “We do not believe there was anybody else injured along the midway during the course of this gunfire.”
Rides were shut down shortly after the shooting occurred and patrons were forced to leave. Entry and exit points leading to the fairgrounds were eventually shut off to the public.
“Law enforcement was on the scene. They responded and at some particular point, they were able to detain at least two individuals along with at least one vehicle right now that we believe to be involved in this incident as well,” Jones said.
Two rifles, one pistol, and a “large magnitude of different-caliber shell casings” also were recovered.
During the course of the investigation, the sheriff said it was determined that a law enforcement officer also opened fire, shooting and killing one of the potential shooters.
Jones said the individuals detained are juveniles. “It’s very devastating and tragic,” he said. “This is what is to be considered a family-oriented event, for families from all different walks of life to come to a common location to enjoy entertainment and enjoy food… You have the reckless behavior of individuals with no regard for the lives and safety of those attending the event and I think it is a very (cowardly) and selfish act.”
The sheriff was unsure if the event would continue Sunday, telling media it would be up to event organizers and the Mississippi State Fair Commission.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has been called in to help with the case.
Jones is urging anyone with additional information to contact their local law enforcement agency.
“We will find out exactly what happened,” he said. “We will find out who’s all involved and they should be held accountable for this very reckless incident that occurred here tonight.”
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