Jury clears Verona officers in shooting

Thomas Wells | Daily Journal Lee County Coroner Carolyn Green arrives on the scene of a fatal shooting involving two Verona Police officers Sept. 3.

Thomas Wells | Daily Journal
Lee County Coroner Carolyn Green arrives on the scene of a fatal shooting involving two Verona Police officers Sept. 3.

By JB Clark

Daily Journal

TUPELO – A Lee County grand jury found there is not enough evidence to indict Verona Police Officer Aaron Andrew in the shooting death of Henry Montgomery last year.

Andrew and Investigator JB Long have been on administrative leave since the Sept. 3 shooting at the Verona City Park on Mattox Road.

Long was cleared of any wrongdoing by the grand jury.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said he has turned over all of his evidence in the investigation of Andrew to the FBI for any consideration of federal charges, but there will be no state charges.

Andrew and Long responded to a disturbance call on Mattox Road near Verona City Park around 1 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 3.

When the officers made the traffic stop, the two men in the car engaged in an altercation with a police officer, resulting in the police officer firing one shot at the suspect, fatally wounding him.

The man shot was Henry Montgomery, 31, of Aberdeen.

The second man involved, Christopher Montgomery, 33, was later charged with being in possession of 23 grams of crack cocaine at the time of the traffic stop.

The Lee County grand jury’s official report said after reviewing the facts and circumstances of the case, it voted for a no true bill, meaning it will not indict the officers.

The officers are still on administrative leave, part of which was paid and part not.

Verona Police Chief Anthony Anderson said he is awaiting word from the city attorney, Gary Carnathan, as well as the Verona Board of Alderman, to see if his officers will be reinstated now that they have been cleared of any state charges.

The grand jury met for five days from Jan 6 until Jan. 10, examined 56 witnesses and returned 204 true bills.

jb.clark@journalinc.com