A dark week for law enforcement
Published 9:53 am Thursday, March 12, 2015
Tuesday should serve as a reminder of the dangers that law enforcement officers faces every day in the line of duty.
A Jackson-based federal marshal was killed in the line of duty, two Vicksburg police investigators were injured in a three-vehicle crash while responding to an emergency call and an off-duty Warren County deputy died as a result of a crash he was in last month.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Josie Wells, a native of the Jackson area, was killed in a shootout Tuesday morning the task force he was assigned to attempted to arrest a double homicide suspect near Baton Rouge.
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It was a horribly tragic end for Wells, who was 27, married and expecting a child.
Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Beauregard Torres III summed up best what everyone in the law enforcement community around the country was thinking after the news of Wells’ death at the hands of murder suspect Jamie Croom.
“He was a dangerous criminal,” Torres said. “It was a very high price to pay for this warrant to bring this man into custody. It was a very, very high price.”
Yet, men and women across the county wake up every day to face these dangerous criminals and put their lives on the line for us.
The everyday dangers were evident here Tuesday when police Lt. Troy Kimble and investigator Bobby Jones were injured in a crash while trying to help catch an escapee from the Warren County Juvenile Detention Center.
The crash site looked awful, and it was amazing that no one was seriously injured.
I talked with Kimble Wednesday afternoon, and he was in high spirits despite the fact that another newspaper in the state reported him dead. I have not spoken with Jones or Rose McKenzie, the civilian whose SUV was involved in the crash, but I’m assured they are doing well. She too has law enforcement ties. Her husband, Jay McKenzie, is a retired Warren County deputy.
In another tragic occurrence, Warren County Deputy Johnny Gatson died after suffering from shortness of breath at his home in Vicksburg. An autopsy revealed Gatson’s cause of death was linked to an injury he suffered in an on-duty crash during a February ice storm.
Gatson was a soft-spoken mild-mannered gentleman who went into law enforcement late in life after earning a degree at Alcorn and spending 15 years in the Marine Corps. Gatson was 58
In their dark days, law enforcement officers need us just as much as we need them. Next time you see a law enforcement agent, let them know how much they are appreciated.
Josh Edwards is a reporter and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 601-636-4545.