Body found shot near downtown; six arrested

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 9, 2004

Vicksburg Police Officer Jason Wood stands watch at Cherry and Fayette streets early this morning near where a body was found.(Brian Loden The Vicksburg Post)

[7/9/04]The body of a man who was shot multiple times and robbed was found on a street near downtown Vicksburg just after midnight this morning. It was the first fatal shooting here in 2004.

Police have taken six people into custody and said they were searching for a seventh.

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The identity of the victim was known, but police said they would not reveal his name until they were sure his family had been notified.

Vicksburg Police Capt. Mark Culbertson said two of those being held will be charged with capital murder and four will be charged as accessories. Their identities were still being processed.

The person being hunted was identified as Zachary Conner, 20, of Vicksburg. Conner is considered to be armed and dangerous, Culbertson said, and will be charged with capital murder.

The victim, wearing shorts, a T-shirt and no shoes, was found at 12:04 on a grass shoulder next to Fayette Street near its intersection with Cherry Street after police received a call at 11:44 p.m. in the 500 block of Adams Street that someone had shot through a home’s door.

“While they were working that call, dispatch got an anonymous call from a cell phone that there was a man lying on the side of the street, and he wasn’t moving,” Culbertson said.

Police believe the two reports may be related.

Warren County Deputy Coroner Larry Chisley said the victim was shot at least three times in the upper body and leg. An autopsy was scheduled for tonight at Mississippi Mortuary Services in Pearl.

The victim’s shoes were found on a bridge nearby on Cherry Street, between Hugo and Fayette streets, but little else was at the scene.

“We are going to talk to the caller and find out what they saw and what they didn’t see,” Culbertson said at the scene early today. “We’ll talk to anybody we can find, and we’re already talking to some people.”

Homicides have become increasingly rare in Vicksburg and Warren County over the past several years. The last one reported was when Terence Dante Truitt, 21, was charged with murder in the Oct. 27 shooting death of a neighbor, Darrell Dwayne Kemper, 27, at Forest Hills Apartments, 320 Fisher Ferry Road. Truitt was indicted by a Warren County grand jury in May.

If a jury finds that a suspect is guilty of capital murder, a second trial phase is held to determine the penalty, which can include execution. If the jury cannot agree on the death penalty, the judge must impose a life sentence.

In Mississippi, one class of capital murder requires proof of a separate felony, such as arson, robbery, kidnapping or rape.

Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call 636-2511.