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Coroner: Man shot self twice after killing officer


Holbrook Mohr/The Associated Press



JACKSON -- The murder suspect who killed a detective at police headquarters in Mississippi's capital city last week shot himself twice in the head after shooting the officer four times, the coroner said Tuesday. 


Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart said 23-year-old Jeremy Powell shot himself once in the side of the head and once under the chin after shooting veteran Jackson Police Detective Eric Smith four times on Thursday. Grisham-Stewart had said last week that Powell had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. 


"It is unusual, but the first shot didn't kill him," the coroner said in a telephone interview Tuesday. 


Powell was being questioned about a stabbing death when he grabbed Smith's gun during an interview on the third floor of the department and shot the 40-year-old detective twice in the arm and twice in the chest, authorities say. 


A person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press last week that the shooting was captured on an interrogation room video. The AP has asked for the video to be released under open records law. Jackson authorities say the request is being processed. 


Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. said in a news release Tuesday that there are two ongoing investigations related to the shooting. 


The criminal investigation is being conducted by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations. Harvey said the Jackson Police Department's Internal Affairs Division will determine if there were any violations of the department's policies and procedures. 


"We realize that there are questions relating to details surrounding this tragic incident. However, at this point both investigations have not concluded," Johnson said in the statement Tuesday. "We will be prepared to share as much information as possible once the investigations are complete. A news conference will be called and officials will be made available to answer questions early next week." 


Ken Winter, executive director of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, has said each department sets its own policies, but he said that in general it wouldn't be unusual for a suspect to be unrestrained during questioning and for an officer to be armed during the interrogation. 


A candlelight vigil is planned Thursday for Smith outside the Jackson Police Department, Johnson said. 


Smith's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Jackson State University's basketball arena. 


Smith, 40, is survived by his wife, Eneke, a sergeant with the Jackson Police Department, and two sons.




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