JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Authorities have a video from a police interrogation room that shows a murder suspect shooting a detective to death before killing himself with the officer’s gun, a person with knowledge of the investigation said Saturday.
The suspect, Jeremy Powell, was not handcuffed during questioning at the Jackson Police Department on Thursday, the person said on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the ongoing investigation.
Powell overpowered Det. Eric Smith and took his gun, shooting the veteran detective four times before shooting himself in the head inside a third-floor room of the department’s headquarters, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said. Other officers heard the shots ring out and rushed to the interview room, but both men were dead.
The AP has asked for the video to be released under open records laws, but authorities have not responded to the request.
Powell, 23, was being questioned about the stabbing death of a man whose body was found Monday near a Jackson street.
Ken Winter, executive director of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, said it’s not unusual for a suspect to be unrestrained during questioning.
“It depends on the demeanor of the individual at the time. I would assume that the detective had no reason to believe this guy was aggressive or he wouldn’t have been interviewing him in the first place,” said Winter, who spent 36 years in law enforcement as a police chief, a detective and as director of the state crime lab.
Winter also said it’s not uncommon for an officer to be armed during an interrogation.
“I don’t think this detective was doing anything out of the ordinary. Sometimes you can do everything right and it still turn out bad,” Winter said.
Smith, 40, is survived by his wife, Eneke, a sergeant with the Jackson Police Department, and two sons.
Associated Press writer Jeff Amy contributed to this report.