JACKSON, Mississippi (Reuters) - A murder suspect who killed a veteran Mississippi police detective at police headquarters in Jackson on Thursday wrangled with the officer during questioning and shot him with his own gun before killing himself, police said on Friday.
The 23-year-old suspect was being interviewed in the course of a murder investigation, according to police.
“The detective, Eric Smith, was overpowered and shot with his own weapon, and the apparent shooter, Jeremy Powell, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” said Warren Strain, spokesman for the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.
Strain said the incident occurred within “a matter of seconds, not minutes or hours.” He could not say if the two men were alone at the time.
Great attention is being paid to attacks on U.S. law enforcement officials since two prosecutors from Kaufman County, Texas, and the Colorado prisons chief were killed this year in what appeared to be targeted attacks.
A West Virginia sheriff was also shot to death this week while sitting in his police SUV.
Smith, 40, who had almost 20 years with the police, was married to a fellow Jackson police officer and they have two teenage sons.
Powell’s mother, LaShon Powell, said her son “was a good son ... the type of person who would give somebody the shirt off his back.”
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 29 officers have been killed in the line of duty since April 5, 2012, an increase of 21 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Reporting by Emily LeCoz; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Cynthia Johnston