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Final day of Mississippi fest canceled after fatal shooting

Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones said several people were taken to local hospitals with unknown injuries after gunfire Saturday night.
Credit: WXIA

JACKSON, Miss — A law enforcement officer shot and killed one of the people suspected of firing shots at a festival in Mississippi, a sheriff said late Saturday.

Organizers said Sunday that, in response to the shootings, they canceled the final day of the Mississippi Mudbug Festival at the state fairgrounds in Jackson.

Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones said several people were taken to local hospitals with unknown injuries after gunfire Saturday night.

He said an “officer-involved shooting investigation is underway stemming from this incident,” but did not provide additional details. He said the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was called to assist.

Jones said two or three people exchanged gunfire at about 10 p.m. Saturday in and around a vehicle at a fairgrounds parking lot.

“During the course of the exchange, at least one of these individuals fired multiple rounds, multiple shots, toward the midway area of the event that was in progress,” Jones said. “We do not believe there was anybody else injured along the midway during the course of this gunfire.”

The second annual festival — a spring celebration of crawfish, live entertainment and amusement park rides — shut down after the shootings. Saturday’s headliner was Blue Oyster Cult, the rock band best known for classic hits like “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” and “Burnin’ For You.” A message seeking comment from the band’s representative wasn’t immediately returned.

The precise conditions of the wounded weren’t clear. Jones said two juveniles were detained for questioning, and authorities recovered a car, two rifles and a pistol from the scene.

Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesperson Bailey Martin confirmed Sunday that MBI is investigating, as it does with most shootings of or by law enforcement officers in the state. She declined to name the agency for which the officer works.

Grammy-winning blues singer Bobby Rush was the headline performer scheduled for Sunday. The state Department of Agriculture and Commerce hosted the festival, and Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson said people who bought advance tickets for Sunday will receive refunds. He said safety is a priority at the fairgrounds.

“I appreciate the rapid response from the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office and the Jackson Police Department," Gipson said in a statement Sunday. “Their quick action in securing the scene prevented others from potentially being hurt.”

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