By JB Clark
NETTLETON – What began as a fight among family members Wednesday ended with two dead along Main Street in Nettleton’s downtown and one pronounced dead at North Mississippi Medical Center after being transported by helicopter.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said four people were in a car leaving United Furniture on Main Street in Nettleton where some of them were previously engaged in an altercation.
The three men killed have been identified as two brothers and an acquaintance.
Otis Eugene Bass, 49, and Joseph Valie Bass, 44, both of Shannon, died at the scene, and Jamie Guin, 33, of Mantachie, died at North Mississippi Medical Center, according to Monroe County Coronor Alan Gurley.
Otis Bass has been identified as the shooter/suspect, according to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations.
As the car approached downtown coming from the furniture factory, one of the people in the car shot two other people in the car.
Both shooting victims were able to get out of the car, one falling to the ground immediately at the intersection of Mullen Avenue and Main Street. The second left the vehicle and fled about 100 yards, chased by Otis Bass, until falling.
“The shooter then walks up to him and fired several more rounds at that particular individual,” Johnson said. “At that time the Nettleton Police Department responded. While the officer was (speaking) with the driver of the vehicle, the shooter came up from behind the policeman and fired several rounds into the police car, damaging it.”
Johnson said that’s when the police officer engaged in a gunfight with Otis Bass, fatally shooting him.
The fourth individual in the car has been cooperating with law enforcement, according to Johnson.
The 911 dispatch office sent out the call for units to respond to an active shooter at 11:40 a.m.
Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell said they found several shell casings at the scene and each shooting victim was shot multiple times.
The silver Chevy Trailblazer in which the individuals were riding was in the middle of Main Street and halfway into the intersection. Behind it a Nettleton Police Department patrol car sat with the back window shot out.
The bodies of the two individuals pronounced dead at the scene were removed from the scene around 4 p.m. as the investigation continued downtown.
Authorities said the veteran officer is being questioned as to what happened and appears to be justified in returning gunfire.
Johnson said they do not know for sure what each of the four individual’s involvement with United Furniture was at this point in the investigation.
The case is still being investigated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and Mississippi Highway Patrol with assistance from both the Lee County and Monroe County sheriff’s offices. The two sheriff’s offices are involved since it happened on the Lee-Monroe county line.
Anyone who witnessed the incident is encouraged to contact CrimeStoppers (1-800-773-TIPS), the Lee County Sheriff (662-841-9041) or Monroe County Sheriff (662-369-2468).