Autopsy confirms gunshot killed retired police officer|[07/25/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 25, 2008

The autopsy performed on the body of retired police Deputy Chief Walter C. Cole confirmed he died from a single gunshot wound to the head, Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey said today.

The body of Cole, who was 75, was found early Wednesday in his Chrysler less than a mile from his home at 258 Jefferson Circle, Apt. 250-B, in North Vicksburg. What appeared to be a gunshot wound in his head was later discovered and the autopsy was ordered. Police still suspect robbery was the motive as some of Cole’s personal possessions were missing from his vehicle.

“We are still waiting on the preliminary report but it has definitely been ruled a homicide and we believe he had been dead about 24 hours when he was found,” said Vicksburg Police Lt. Bobby Stewart. “We are waiting for the ballistics to come back from the crime lab so we can determine the type of gun used and we have been steadily following up and trying to track Mr. Cole’s movements leading up to the murder. We have established everything he did from early Tuesday morning until the time he was found.”

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As of this morning there were still no suspects in the case.

“I’d love to say we have somebody in jail,” Stewart said, “but I just can’t say that yet. We are working hard to get to that point.”

Cole was a member of the “Lucky 7,” the name the first seven black officers hired by the Vicksburg Police Department in the 1970s gave themselves. A military veteran, he had earlier worked for the Warren County Sheriff’s Department. Cole retired in the early 1990s with the rank of assistant chief over patrol and from 1997 to 2005 worked as a detention officer in the Warren County Jail.

Williams Funeral Service has charge of arrangements.