By JB Clark and Steven Watson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Police are investigating an early Thursday morning shooting in the Joyner neighborhood that left a Tupelo man dead outside a neighbor’s house.
Lee County Coroner Carolyn Green identified the dead man as Brad Nance, 41, a resident of Springdale Drive, the same street where the shooting took place.
Tupelo Police Capt. Rusty Haynes said police were told a renter at 1208 Springdale and his two children were sleeping when he heard a noise on the deck shortly before 5 a.m.
Police said the man, whose name was not released, allegedly opened a door and told Nance to leave at which point he said Nance advanced toward him. At that point the resident fired a .410-gauge shotgun at Nance, who was fatally wounded.
“Everything is indicative of the (shooter) acting in self-defense,” Haynes said. “But, we will let the grand jury decide that.”
Green said Nance’s body was sent to Jackson for an autopsy and toxicology report. She said it appears the cause of death is the gunshot wound to the chest.
Haynes said while the men were neighbors, they weren’t familiar with each other.
“There was absolutely no bad blood,” Haynes said. “The (shooter) was completely unaware of the deceased man’s existence. He is renting the home and there is no connection we’ve been able to find whatsoever.”
Tupelo resident Eric Pate said Nance had been his best friend for around 30 years and described him as a kind and gentle soul.
“He was a true pacifist,” Pate said. “For him to have to die in that kind of violence … it just breaks my heart.”
Paige Sanderson said she first met Nance in the sixth grade and described him as someone who “would do anything for anybody.” She said she couldn’t understand why anyone would find Nance threatening.
“I just can’t imagine – other than him being confused or something – that he could possibly pose a threat,” she said. “He’s never been a threatening person a day in his life.”
Tupelo resident and friend Cindy Burnette said Nance was a good soul and “would not hurt a flea.”
“Everyone I talked with today is confused and sad,” she said. “I believe that he wasn’t trying to do harm, but was lost.”
The 911 call went out just after 5 a.m. and Haynes said the shooting seems to have occurred about 4:45 a.m.
Nance was carrying no identification at the time he was killed, but Tupelo Police identified him by 11 a.m. Thursday.
Springdale Drive is located near Holy Trinity Lutheran Church between McCullough Boulevard and Clayton Avenue.