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Strain: MBI investigation will be done 'by the book'

 

Carl Smith

 

 

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation's probe of a June 3 officer-involved shooting in Starkville has not yet yielded charges against an injured Starkville man. 

 

Those charges, MBI spokesperson Warren Strain said last week, could come after 18-year-old Zyterrious Gandy recovers from his wounds. An update on his condition was unavailable last week after the Starkville resident was stabilized following the incident and then airlifted to a Jackson-area hospital. 

 

For now, Strain said, MBI will move methodically and deliberately to determine what led to two rounds of gunfire on South Wedgewood Road last weekend. Investigators must still interview the involved officers and wounded Starkville resident, and continue to analyze images captured by officers' body and dash cameras and other evidence, he said. 

 

"(The investigation) will be done by the book, by the numbers, regardless of the end result. It's an incredibly thorough process," he said. 

 

While Starkville Police Department officials will not comment on the situation further than saying one officer was placed on paid administrative leave, Strain recounted MBI's working narrative of the incident to The Dispatch Wednesday. 

 

At approximately 4:30 a.m., a silent alarm was triggered at the Highway 12-South Montgomery Street Sprint Mart, where an alleged shoplifting incident occurred. 

 

As officers arrived in the area, they began pursuing a vehicle allegedly driven by Gandy, who then led officers down South Montgomery Street to South Wedgewood Road. 

 

A traffic stop was attempted in the area, Strain said, but Gandy, who was still behind the wheel at the time, backed into at least one Starkville Police Department patrol vehicle, endangering officers' lives. 

 

At that point, at least one officer opened fire, Strain said. 

 

Gandy then allegedly attempted to drive away from the scene but struck a residence's porch. It is believed another round of gunfire occurred, Strain said. 

 

The vehicle circled around the home, where Gandy allegedly abandoned the ride and attempted to flee the area by foot. He was arrested a short distance away, Strain said. 

 

It is unknown how Gandy was injured -- whether he was shot or hurt in the course of the escape -- and how many shots were fired during the incident. 

 

The lack of details emerging from SPD is a purposeful exercise, as the department is directing all inquiries to MBI as it leads the investigation. 

 

"We're trying to ensure that this is an independent investigation, and we don't want any questions to come up about that independence," said SPD Public Information Officer Brandon Lovelady Wednesday. 

 

On June 5, SPD held a brief press conference in which Chief Frank Nichols said the department's prayers are with those involved and announced the unidentified officer's paid leave status, and District Attorney Scott Colom asked residents to be patient and have faith in the integrity of MBI's investigation.

 

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch

 

 

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