Starkville High student murdered in West Point; 31-year-old man in custody

January 1, 2012 2:49:00 PM

David Miller -


WEST POINT -- Starkville High School junior Devin Mitchell was shot and killed Sunday morning at Ridgewood Apartments at 1311 E. Main St. in West Point. 


Clay County 911 received calls at 2:55 a.m. of gunshots fired near the complex. Officers arrived and found Mitchell, 16, of Starkville, suffering from a gunshot wound. He was later transported to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo where he died as a result of his injuries, West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said. 


The WPPD arrested Tavaris F. Collins, 31, aka "Frog," and charged him with murder. Brinkley said a motive for the murder is still under investigation.  


No bond has been set for Collins. 


Brinkley would not comment on how many times Mitchell was shot and declined to release further details as the investigation is ongoing.  


Mitchell's body was sent for autopsy to the state medical examiner's office in Jackson.  


Larry Johnson, a family friend who spoke on behalf of Mitchell's parents, Aubrey and Myrtle, said funeral arrangements haven't been set. 


Mitchell was a member of the Starkville High football team that reached the Class 5A state title game this season. Mitchell, a tight end/linebacker, led Starkville with 34 catches for 772 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also played baseball. 


"It is such a tragedy," said Stan Miller, Starkville High athletics director. "He was a straight A-B student, a churchgoer, a fine young man. "We're not smart enough to understand why things happen in our lives. I'm just sick. I'm torn up." 


Classmates and teammates expressed their condolences on Twitter, offering Bible verses and expressions of grief followed by the hashtag #32forever.  


"Resting in peace? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure Devin is hangin' with Jesus having a more amazing time than we can imagine. #32forever," teammate Nate Pugh tweeted. 


"Devin was a student of great promise, and his untimely death is a grievous loss to the Yellowjacket family," said Starkville School District Interim Superintendent Dr. Beth Sewell. "Our hearts go out to Devin's family, friends and classmates. We ask that you remember them and the entire Starkville High School family in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time." 


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