14-year-old charged with manslaughter-culpable negligence in Vicksburg homicide

Published 2:39 pm Thursday, June 10, 2021

Thomas Hardman, the Vicksburg 14-year-old charged in the shooting death of his 11-year-old cousin, has been charged with manslaughter-culpable negligence — not second-degree murder, as originally reported by the Vicksburg Police Department.

The Vicksburg Police Department identified the victim as Rashawn Wilbert, also of Vicksburg.

Hardman appeared before Judge Allen Derivaux in Vicksburg Municipal Court on June 9, where his bond was set at $150,000 and he was bound over to the Warren County Grand Jury.

Although Hardman is a minor, he is being charged as an adult.

“There is no juvenile second-degree murder in Mississippi,” Vicksburg Police Department Capt. Mike Bryant said Wednesday, prior to the charge being updated.

Bryant later confirmed to The Post that the charge initially reported was incorrect and that Hardman’s new charge was manslaughter-culpable negligence.

He also confirmed that Hardman and the victim were cousins and that two other family members were present at the time of the shooting.

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs, Jr. said the homicide stemmed from a preventable situation.

“I think not only do we have to crack down on crime, but we also need to crack down on parents being responsible for having weapons around their kids,” Flaggs said. “Whether they are being displayed or discharged, it’s an issue that begins in the home.”

At 7:56 p.m. on June 8, officers of VPD and personnel from the Vicksburg Fire Department were dispatched to an address on Elizabeth Circle for shooting. Inside the residence, they found an 11-year-old male suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

At the time, it appeared that the shooting was accidental, a statement from VPD said.

This is a developing story. More updates will be published as they become available.