Chief Kenneth Collins of the Brookhaven Police Department in Mississippi sadly reports the death of Corporal Zachary Moak and Patrolman James White.
Cpl. Moak, 31, and Ptlm. White, 35, were dispatched to a “shots fired” call. Patrolman White was the primary officer dispatched to the call and Corporal Moak was right behind him in responding.
Upon their arrival they observed an individual in the front yard of a residence. When the officers exited their patrol vehicles the suspect immediately opened fire with a pistol. The officers returned fire wounding the suspect.
Unfortunately, both officers were also struck by the suspect’s gunfire. Other officers arrived and took the man into custody. Medical attention was provided to both officers and they were transported to Kings Daughters Medical Center where they succumbed to their gunshot wounds.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation into the initial call as well as the gun battle that caused the death of the responding officers. The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is assisting them.
Both officers were wearing ballistic vests and had body cameras. The patrol vehicles also had dash cams. All were in operation during the incident and all video images captured are a part of the investigation.
The number of shots fired by officers or the suspect have not been released, nor has the number of times each officer was struck by the suspect’s gunfire. Those details are considered critical information and will be released upon the completion of the MBI investigation.
“Two heroes lost their lives today,” Chief Collins said at a news conference Saturday.
“They responded to the call and another was under fire, and that’s when the officer jumped in to help. They’re both heroes,” he said.
The suspect is well known to the law enforcement community and was currently on probation for vehicle theft. He was wearing an electronic tether at the time of the shooting.
Collins described the events that unfolded as something that could happen to his officers anytime, anywhere.
“We answer those calls many times, and nothing ever happens. One hundred times — just that one time is all it takes,” he said.
Our thoughts & prayers are with the families and friends of the officers killed in Brookhaven, Mississippi today. pic.twitter.com/MGh1X83vSg
— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) September 29, 2018
“This is devastating for our community, especially given what has already happened so recently,” Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox said.
“Our community is strong, and we’ll pull together as a family. Our sympathies go out to the families and we want them to know we’ll be with them to support them as they cope with this tragedy.”
Corporal Moak & Patrolman White were shot & killed responding to reports of shots fired. Officers encountered a subject & exchanged shots. Both officers were struck and succumbed to their wounds at the hospital.#bluefamily
Louie?Brookhaven Police Dept pic.twitter.com/hY8KklgNZU
— LoveK9Louie (@LoveK9Louie) September 30, 2018
In a statement issued on Twitter, Gov. Phil Bryant asked for prayers “for the family and loved ones of these fallen heroes.”
A candlelight/prayer vigil will be held Sunday night at 7 p.m. in front of Brookhaven Police Department.
Both Moak and White were three-year veterans of the Brookhaven Police Department. White had left Brookhaven Police Department for a short time and served with the Monticello Police Department. He returned to Brookhaven Police Department three years ago.
Corporal Zachary Moak is gone, but will never be forgotten. EOW: Saturday, September 29, 2018.
Patrolman James White is gone, but will never be forgotten. EOW: Saturday, September 29, 2018.