A hostage situation in Mississippi turned deadly Thursday morning after a suspect twice exchanged gunfire with police.
At approximately 1:30 a.m., police were called to a residence in Brandon, Mississippi, about 15 miles east of Jackson. According to reports, 22-year-old Gabriel Matthew Wilson had just broken into the home, which was then occupied by two women, whose names have not been released. When he arrived at the home, Wilson was supposedly wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying a handgun and a rifle.
One of the women managed to escape immediately, but the other remained behind, sparking a standoff with police that lasted for hours. Wilson’s mother arrived on the scene to help diffuse the situation, and negotiators with Brandon and Madison Police Departments soon began speaking with Wilson on the phone. In his conversations with police, Wilson requested water and glue sticks, and those requests were granted. At some point, he allowed the female hostage to leave.
“We did get some compromise from him, and as we gave him what he asked for, she was able to run out,” said Wayne Dearman, chief of Brandon PD. “She was checked out. She was uninjured.”
However, Wilson and police got into a shootout on two separate occasions several hours apart. The first barrage of bullets rang out just after 6 a.m., as police cars and media lined the streets of the Crossgates neighborhood. WLBT-TV captured the moment in which police and the suspect fired a staggering number of shots, creating a plume of smoke near the home’s front door:
During that shooting, an officer with Brandon PD was struck in his left side where his tactical gear didn’t protect him. He was quickly raced to a hospital in Jackson with “significant injuries” but is said to be in stable condition.
About three and a half hours after that first shootout, bullets rang out once again, and this second exchange proved to be fatal. The suspect was later pronounced deceased, though the circumstances of his injuries are unclear.
The second casualty to die in the exchange was Horren Randy Tyler, an officer who spent seven years with Madison PD after retiring as police chief of Ridgeland, Mississippi. Tyler was a member of Madison’s Special Response Team and the supervisor of its Narcotics Division.
Governor Tate Reeves (R) issued a statement following news of the deadly shooting: “All I’ll say right now is: pray for our law enforcement officers. Recognize their courage, sacrifice, and service. And please pray for these officers’ family and friends specifically today.”
Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones honored Tyler’s years of public service: “Our hearts and prayers are with the family, friends, and co-workers of fallen Madison PD SRT Officer Randy Tyler. May God be with the many lives he touched during this difficult time. We are grateful for his years-long service to his community, the state of MS, and our nation.”
The incident is now in the hands of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.
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