UPDATE: Charges reduced in Starkville student's death

By The Associated Press


UPDATE 2:08PM

WEST POINT, Miss. (AP) — Bond has been set at $2.2 million for a 31-year-old man charged in the shooting death of a Starkville High School football player.

Sixteen-year-old Devin Mitchell was shot and killed Sunday morning at Ridgewood East Apartments in West Point.

West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley say a municipal judge Tuesday reduced the charge against Tavaris F. Collins to murder. Police had charged Collins with capital murder.

Brinkley told the Columbus Commercial Dispatch firecrackers were being fired in the area, and Collins fired at what he thought was “an assailant or assailants firing gunshots at him” from outside one of the apartments.

“But there’s no evidence to support the idea that any shots were fired by anyone but (Collins),” Brinkley told the Commercial Dispatch. “Devin did not have a gun; he may have been outside shooting fireworks. He was fired at for no reason.”

Collins fired multiple shots, one of which struck Mitchell, 16, in the head, Brinkley said. Officers responded to the apartment complex at 2:55 a.m., and Mitchell was airlifted to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo where he later died.

Brinkley said Mitchell was not involved in any criminal activity and just happened to be outside the apartment when the shooting occurred.

Click here for more at Commercial Dispatch Website.

Brinkley said Mitchell was visiting relatives in the apartment complex.

Mitchell, a junior, was a member of the Starkville High football team that reached the Class 5A state title game this season. Mitchell, a tight end and linebacker, led Starkville with 34 catches for 772 yards and 10 touchdowns.


9:50AM

WEST POINT — Police say charges against a 31-year-old man in the shooting death of a Starkville High School football player have been upgraded to capital murder.

Sixteen-year-old Devin Mitchell was shot and killed Sunday morning at Ridgewood East Apartments in West Point.

West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley tells the Daily Times Leader that the charges against Tavaris F. Collins were upgraded because he is a convicted felon and was legally prohibited from owning firearms.

Mitchell, a junior, was a member of the Starkville High football team that reached the Class 5A state title game this season. Mitchell, a tight end and linebacker, led Starkville with 34 catches for 772 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Collins was being held Tuesday without bond pending an initial court appearance.