City records first homicide of 2024 – Father of six shot at Panola Ave. car wash

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The first recorded homicide of the year in the city was the shooting death of a Batesville man, a father of six young children. It was the third homicide in 2024 for Panola County.

Dameon Sanford, 31, was killed by an unknown assailant about 12:50 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, after a short confrontation at a popular Panola Ave. store and car wash.

Police said closed circuit video from Panola 1st Stop, better known as the old Helm’s convenience store, captured Sanford walking to the car wash beside the store where he appeared to be waiting on someone else to arrive. The store had closed earlier in the evening.

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Two vehicles arrived at the scene and one or more shooters – covered and unidentifiable in the video feed – exited a car and shot Sanford at close range. The Coroner’s Office said the victim died at the scene.

The body of the deceased was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office this week for a forensic autopsy.

Deputy Chief of Police Barry Thompson said witnesses across the street heard shots but could not identify the vehicles or the person with the gun. Thompson said the incident happened very quickly, and in a darkened part of the parking lot.

“We have leads we are working on and we are using city cameras and tag readers to search for the vehicles that were involved,” Thompson said. “It’s a slow process, but we are getting more information each day.”

Detective Adam Smithey is leading the investigation, and anyone with information should contact him, or Thompson, at 563-5653.