Crenshaw murder

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Panola County Sheriff’s Department and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation continued their investigation Tuesday into a Crenshaw shooting that left 20-year-old man Ira Phillipd dead.

Sheriff Otis Griffin said a caller reported a “body laying face down in a pool of blood” about 9:30 p.m. Monday night. Crenshaw police officers arrived at an area of the town known as the “Renasant” about 10 minutes later, and Panola deputies arrived after another 10 minutes to secure the crime scene area. Within 90 minutes, two suspects were in custody.

“That is because of the cooperation we have between the deputies, Crenshaw police and the Quitman County Sheriff,” Griffin said.

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The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is lead investigator assisted by Panola Sheriff’s Department investigators, the sheriff added. By Tuesday, officers were questioning four suspects, he said.

The preliminary investigation indicated that a 9 mm handgun was used in the shooting. It has not been recovered. Officers are “still digging, looking,” the sheriff said. “We’ve been in and out of offices all morning, trying to nail some things down.”

“It appears to be an attempted potential drug deal gone bad or a robbery or a combination of both,” Griffin continued. The victim “appeared shot a couple of times in the back as if he was trying to run or flee from something.”

The sheriff said that there were indications of “four or five gunshots were fired. Somebody had to hear.”

Phillips was a graduate of North Panola High School where he played football for the Cougars. He also had attended Northwest Mississippi Community College.

“Twenty years old,” Griffin said, his voice trailing off.