STARKVILLE, Miss. – A former policeman in a northeast Mississippi town is indicted on aggravated assault charges after the June 2017 recording of a man involved in a police chase.
An Oktibbeha County grand jury indicted 25-year-old Gary Wheeler. He turned himself in Monday and was released on $ 20,000 bail.
“This is a case we will certainly take it to trial,” Wheeler’s lawyer, Rod-Ray of Columbus, told the Starkville Daily News .
Wheeler is set for trial Oct. 25.
A Starkville police officer, Wheeler is accused of shooting into the vehicle of Zyterrious Gandy.
Police say Gandy had robbed a convenience store, and authorities chased him through Starkville on a early Saturday morning. When the police tried to stop Gandy on a dead-end street, they say, he backed into a police car. Researchers have said that when Wheeler fired. Gandy then drove into the porch of a house, and the researchers have said more shots can be fired.
Gandy then drove behind the house, leaving the stolen car he was driving and ran away, authorities said. He was quickly made. Gandy survived the injuries to his upper body and the legs. Gandy is charged with three counts of aggravated assault, grand larceny, malicious mischief, and not to stop when signaled by police.
Starkville police chief Frank Nichols told the Starkville Daily News on Monday that Wheeler was placed on paid leave after the shooting, then returned to duty for a short time before resigning. Wheeler was hired in April as one of the Mississippi State University police officer, but the university spokesman Sid Salter said Wheeler resigned the post on Monday.
The case was investigated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by the Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s office. Margaret Ann Morgan, a spokeswoman for Hood, refused to say why the office pursued against Wheeler.
The prosecution of police officers for shooting suspects are relatively rare in the Mississippi river.
The cap is the office of the prosecution of the former Columbus officer Canyon Boykin, who pleaded not guilty to murder in 2015 a shooting that until the community protests. The attorney general’s office twice prosecuted Walter Grant on murder charges in 2013, a shooting in Cleveland. Both of the Bolivar County sheriff’s deputy of the trials ended in hung juries, but the Grant was indicted in federal court on charges of evidence tampering.