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Sheriff Bright dead

DA says no foul play

By Rupert Howell

Panola County Sheriff Hugh Wayne “Shot” Bright died Sunday afternoon according to District Attorney John Champion who said no foul play was suspected. Champion would not elaborate on cause of death but those close to the investigation said it was from a gunshot wound.

The incident occurred on College Street at a home where Bright had spent time.

Champion said he first received a call at approximately 1:30 p.m. He said the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation would handle the investigation and evidence has been sent to the crime lab

Bright attended services at First United Methodist Church that morning and had dined at the Panola Country Club approximately one hour before the incident occurred according to eyewitnesses.

Champion said later Sunday afternoon that Panola County’s Chief Deputy Otis Griffin will run the sheriff’s department until an interim sheriff is appointed by the Panola County Board of Supervisors.

The district attorney also said that an election to fill Bright’s unexpired term would probably not be held until November 2010.

Law enforcement officials including sheriffs from contiguous counties, deputies and friends huddled around Panola’s jail Sunday offering support to the local department and one another.

See Tuesday’s issue of The Panolian and follow panolian.com for later developments.