Officer, trooper cleared after fatal shootings

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Two law enforcement officials involved in deadly shootings earlier this year are cleared of any criminal charges.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations conducted an investigation into the June 24 shooting of Gerald John Wagner, 40, of Picayune, by a Mississippi Highway patrolman and the July 30 shooting of Gregory Martinez Hughes, 22, of Verona, by a Tupelo Police officer, and presented the findings to a grand jury.
A representative from the District Attorney’s office said the grand jury found the officers acted within the regulations of their authority and in self-defense.
Neither the officer nor the trooper has been publicly identified.
Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carelton said he was glad to get his officer back in October.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that happened – the loss of a life is something we hate for the family and for the officer that is put in that position – but our officer has been cleared by an outside agency,” he said. “The police department supports the officer in his transition back onto patrol.”
Ray Hall, public relations trooper with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, said the MBI investigation showed Hughes drew a small caliber handgun and fired a shot at an officer after officers responded to calls of shots fired at the Barley Courts apartments on Highway 145.
A Highway Patrol news release said Wagner fired a total of four shots at law enforcement officers before being shot himself. The shootout came after Wagner lost control of his vehicle near the Green Street exit on Highway 45 after running over a spike strip while fleeing Highway Patrol troopers.
Both of the officers have returned to their normal duties in their departments.
jb.clark@journalinc.com