Police: Father kills 9-year-old son, self

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Day turned tragic for a Vicksburg family when an argument turned deadly, ending in the death of man and his son and a fire that destroyed the family’s home at 8 Briarwood Place.

“We are treating this as a homicide/suicide,” deputy police chief Bobby Stewart said. He said police believe James Jarrod Wasson, 39, killed his son, Jim Wasson, 9, with some type of sharp object before using it to take is own life.

“Both were dead from lacerations,” Stewart said.

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No weapon was found at the scene, he said, adding police found father and son lying in the driveway of the home. He said the bodies were taken to the Mississippi State Crime Lab for autopsies.

Wasson’s wife, who was not identified, and his 7-year-old son, who was also not identified, managed to escape the burning house.

The woman, who police said was beaten, was taken to Merit Health River Region Medical Center, where she was treated and released. The 7-year-old was not injured.

The cause of the fire was undetermined pending an investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Police do not know what started the argument, Stewart said.

“This is a classic domestic violence case,” Police Chief Walter Armstrong said. “This all occurred within the family. We are not looking for any other suspects. This is a real tragedy for that family.”

Armstrong said police received a call about 9 p.m. Friday from 911 dispatchers about a house fire in Briarwood Place and arrived to find Wasson and his son and flames breaking through the roof of the house.

Saturday morning, the house stood gutted with a scorched area along the roof showing where the fire broke through, and Christmas yard decorations adorned the front yard.

A dark gray Toyota pickup with the tag “JWASSON” stood at the edge of the driveway, while an orange Mustang with the tag “WASSON1” sat apparently undisturbed under the carport. A small dachshund wandered around the house and the property.

Fire Chief Charles Atkins said firefighters responding to the fire were asked by police to wait until the scene had been secured, adding the trucks stood by on Hawkins Street at the entrance to Birarwood Place until they heard from police.

“They said they didn’t know if there was a shooter in the building or someplace else on the property,” Atkins said. “They even searched in the woods behind the house.”

He said firefighters reached the house at 9:44 p.m. and left about 4 a.m. Saturday.

Armstrong said the domestic argument wasn’t the only one police handled over Christmas.

“We answered a lot of domestic calls Christmas,” he said. “I don’t know the reason, but we handled more this time of year than any other.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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