Featured Story-Jan. 16 shooting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shortly after the shooting at 132 Vance Street, Batesville police officers entered the home across the street at 125 Vance and took three men into custody. Two of the three men are shown in this photo. Photos by Billy Davis

Batesville police officer Ruby Meyers joined family members attempting to render assistance to the shooting victim as paramedics arrive. The victim, identified as Jeremy Wright, was transported to the Med by helicopter.

After the shooting officers, including (from left) Justin Maples, Nick Hughes and Charlie Tindall entered a vacant house at 125 Vance Street, across the street from where the victim was found. The took three people into custody from inside the house.

The victim’s family, friends consoled each other after the shooting.

Officer Ruby Myers held one of three men in custody after he was removed from a house at 125 Vance Street.

Officer Scott Cagle looks for spent cartridge cases that were strewn along Vance Street following the shooting. Much of Vance Street was closed off with crime scene tape.

Shooting victim is loaded into ambulance as law enforcement officials coordinate radio conversations and the gathering of evidence.

Six being questioned about shooting

By Billy Davis

Batesville police, aided by other law enforcement agencies, have arrested six suspects who are being questioned about the noontime shooting of a Batesville man.

Jeremy Wright, 23, was shot in the head in a yard at 132 Vance Street just minutes before noon Monday.
Any cause for the shooting was not released by authorities.

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Wright was transported by ambulance to nearby Patton Lane Park where he was transferred to an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter and flown to The Med in Memphis.

He was in critical condition at The Med at press time Monday evening.

Batesville Police Chief Tony Jones said late Monday no charges had been filed against the suspects, whose names were not released. But the police chief confirmed that police, acting on numerous tips, had picked up several suspects hours after the shooting.

Just minutes after the shooting, Batesville police arrested three suspects in a second home across from 132 Vance Street.  It was not clear why police entered the home, a brick rental house at 125 Vance Street.

Police made a SWAT-like entry into the home, bringing out three males in handcuffs. Two of them appeared to be juveniles.

“No guns were recovered from the home,” said Sheriff Dennis Darby, who was among those who investigated the inside of the home after the suspects were detained.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing as many as twelve rapidly fired gunshots from Vance, located west of Panola Avenue behind First United Methodist Church.

“I only heard four shots,” said Tracy Dulin, who was seated at her secretary’s desk at First Methodist, which backs up to homes that line Vance Street.

First Methodist operates a day care from the church, which locked its doors after the shooting, Dulin said.
“We’ve been on lockdown ever since,” she said.
Eyewitnesses also told police the shooting suspects, dressed in black, fled on foot after firing at Wright.

The shooting on Vance Street came approximately an hour after marchers filled nearby Panola Avenue to celebrate the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

 “The shooting goes against everything Martin Luther King stood for,” observed Darby, who began his term as sheriff this month.

At the scene of the shooting, police wrapped yellow crime scene tape in front of 132 Vance, where spent shell casings were lying in the street. Police wrapped more tape farther east down Vance, where more shell casings were found.

Police later found unspent shell casings in another yard, at the corner of Vance and Field streets. That yard was also wrapped in tape.

Jones said police dispatchers were fielding numerous phone calls, claiming suspicious activity, throughout the afternoon Monday. 

At about 3:30 Monday afternoon police surrounded a wooden shed behind a home on Ozbirn Street, responding to a report that armed suspects were hiding inside. No one was inside.

Just around the corner, however, Panola Constable Raye Hawkins had confronted a group of males just minutes before on Hays Street, where a black ski mask and a pistol were thrown to the ground by a fleeing suspect. Hawkins said the pistol, a unique single-breech firearm that fires a .410 shell, was reported stolen from Iowa.

The pistol was loaded with a .410 round, Hawkins said.

None of the fleeing suspects were caught, he said.

The Monday shooting came after gunfire was reported in west Batesville early Saturday morning, and after two automobiles were torched Saturday night and again on Sunday.

Citing an investigation just hours old, Jones said any discussion of a motive would be speculation.

Chief Jones said numerous local and state agencies had assisted Batesville police at the scene of the shooting, and the arrest of suspects that followed, and he expressed his thanks for their cooperation.