OXFORD – One man was shot dead and his brother was arrested after SWAT officers forcibly entered a home in Oxford’s Grand Oaks subdivision Friday.
Bilethon Autry, 24, was arrested shortly before 4 p.m. after SWAT teams from the Oxford Police Department and Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department forcibly entered the residence at 3887 Majestic Oaks.
A 911 caller had reported a man with a gun in the yard at the home at about 12:53 p.m. Friday. When police responded to the scene, they saw a black male with what was reported as a handgun.
The suspect fled to the inside of the home, and officers from several agencies set up a perimeter around the house. Soon, officers heard gunfire from inside the home, and Autry emerged into the home’s garage and fired at officers before retreating farther inside. At about the same time, a woman, later identified as the family’s cleaning lady, fled from another part of the house to the police line.
“Through her information we determined that the suspect had shot someone in the house, and she believed this individual was deceased,” said Oxford Police Chief Mike Martin. At first police were able to establish cell phone contact with the woman’s father but then lost it. Numerous attempts to call the home phone and the suspect’s cell phone went unanswered.
“We were unable to get communication from inside the house. Based on that and the fear of what might have been going on inside, I elected to send a tactical unit inside to try to establish contact with the suspect or to rescue the hostages.”
Officers reportedly encountered the suspect still holding a handgun, but neither the suspect nor any officers were injured in the takedown. Along with Autry, they found the body of Charlie Hodges, age 50. The father, whose name was also not released, was found shaken but uninjured in the home’s attic.
Martin identified the victim as Charlie Hodges, age 50. His family reportedly owns Hodges-Serenity Funeral Home near Oxford.
Autry is being held at the Lafayette County Detention Center pending formal charges.
“It’s not every day that something like this happens in Oxford – thank God,” Martin said.
He was particularly gratified by having support from every law enforcement agency with a presence in Lafayette County. They included University Police, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Game, U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with officers from at least one adjacent county.
“When we needed people backing us up, and brother, we had them,” Martin said.
When the incident began, Lafayette County Schools went on partial lockdown, a spokesman said. Parents were allowed to pick up their children, but sheriff’s deputies were posted at school entrances.
Oxford Emergency Management Coordinator Jimmy Allgood had set up a command post just outside the first police perimeter and saw firsthand some of the operations.
“OPD handled this very professionally, very effectively,” he said. “Everything was by the book.”
Oxford mayor Pat Patterson said, “Obviously, it’s a tragedy, and we’re sorry about the loss of life, but we also want to recognize the Oxford Police Department and the Lafayette County Sheriff Department for some extra special work that may have prevented more loss of life. From what I understand, they did a magnificent job, and the town is grateful.”
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newswatch Reporter Tony Russell and Daily Mississippian News Director JB Clark covered the Hostage Situation in the Grand Oaks subdivision. Video above includes Oxford Police Chief Mike Martin press conference at the scene. Note: After this interview police learned the woman was the family’s cleaning lady.
To view slideshow click view slideshow link below photo above.
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal