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WATER VALLEY – Police have arrested one person in an early morning shooting Saturday and continue to investigate another shooting four days earlier in the city.
Police Chief Jason Mangrum reported Antonio Cooper, 40, of Water Valley was arrested shortly after Saturday’s shooting and charged with aggravated assault. The police received a 911 call reporting a gunshot victim on Davidson Street at 4:45 a.m. and responded to a residence. The chief reported that people inside the house had already started administering first aid and officers started coordinating medical response.
“Yalobusha County deputies came in and were a tremendous help with this. They took care of the landing zone for the helicopter to allow our officers to focus on the crime scene,” Mangrum added.
Six minutes after the shooting, deputies received a 911 call about a vehicle wreck on County Road 436, south of Water Valley. Mangrum reported a pickup driven by Cooper crashed, describing the scene as a serious wreck.
“The truck was totaled, he was very fortunate to be alive. The cab was completely crushed on the driver’s side,” the chief noted. An ambulance responded to transport Cooper to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford as deputies were also working to assist with the landing zone for the helicopter and Water Valley officers were still in the early stages of the investigation back on Davidson Street at the crime scene.
“It was probably 20 to 30 minutes before we determined that the driver in the wreck and the shooting suspect was the same person,” Mangrum added.
By this time Cooper had arrived at the Oxford hospital, but immediately declined treatment and was leaving the hospital when an Oxford Police officer detained him. Mangrum explained that the Oxford Police Department has policies in place to lock down the hospital anytime there is a patient involved in a shooting.
“Thankfully it is part of protocol at the hospital to lock the hospital down, they made a quick arrest and ensured that Cooper did not evade custody,” Mangrum said. Water Valley police officers met the Oxford officer and took him to the station for questioning.
“He wasn’t banged up. He was intoxicated, but there were no visible injuries. He made the statement to me that he left the hospital because he was not hurt,” Mangrum added.
Cooper was booked in the Yalobusha County Detention Center and later posted a $50,000 bond and was release.
The victim was hit once in the leg and was flown to the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. Family members reported that he has had two surgeries and is in stable condition.
“The altercation is still under investigation,” the chief added. “The shooter and victim may have been friends, but there was obviously a problem. Alcohol may have been a factor. Part of this investigation includes when the victim is able to provide a statement to law enforcement.”
The chief also thanked the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department and Oxford Police Department for assisting with the investigation.
In the earlier shooting on June 21 Mangrum reported that no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. The incident occurred near the intersection of Buena Vista Drive and Daniel Drive around 4 p.m.
There was a strong police response in the area as city officers along with Sheriff Jerimaine Gooch and deputies were on the scene within minutes as the area was secured. Officers and deputies fanned out in the area searching for the suspect.
“We also called in a couple of off-duty officers to come back in and help,” the chief added.
The victim was driven in a private vehicle to Odom Rural Health Clinic, where he met an ambulance and was transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford.
Officers are reviewing video evidence and trying to obtain statements from potential witnesses and the victim.
“The victim beat the ambulance back to the city and has not been cooperative. It appears that he does not want to talk to us. This could possibly be a self defense situation,” Mangrum told the Herald.