Officer, suspect dead in Pearl shooting

Published 12:46 am Wednesday, May 2, 2012

JACKSON (AP) — A police investigator who played minor league baseball before starting his law enforcement career died Tuesday in a shooting that also killed a suspect in a sexual battery case and injured two other officers at an apartment complex in central Mississippi, authorities said.

Pearl Police Department spokesman Lt. Butch Townsend said in a statement that the slain officer was Michael J. “Mike” Walter, 37, of Pearl. Townsend said another officer was shot in the hand and leg and a third was injured in the forearm, but not from a bullet wound.

The shooting happened while the officers were serving a warrant at the Colony Park Apartments in Pearl, a city of about 25,000 people just east of Jackson.

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Walter, a San Diego native, played pitcher in the minor leagues for the Houston Astros’ organization from 1993 to 2000, and spent part of his last four seasons playing for teams based in Jackson. He joined the Pearl Police Department in February 2009 as a patrol officer and quickly climbed the ranks to become an investigator in October 2010.

He leaves behind a wife, Jeanne, and his 11-year-old daughter, Bailey.

“No words can express our feeling of loss at this time. Mike was a beacon of sunshine. Nothing but kind words for all. Seldom did a smile leave his face and his smiles were never bigger than when he would speak of his wife and daughter. We loved him as much as he loved them,” Townsend said.

Townsend said investigator Dave McCarley was shot in the hand and leg, wounds that may require extensive rehabilitation, but he’s expected to make a full recovery. Investigator Shaun Terwilliger received injuries to his forearm and was treated and released.

Rankin County District Attorney Michael Guest said the officers were serving a warrant when Carnell Gaines Jr. opened fire. Guest said at least one of the officers returned fire, killing Gaines.

Gaines was indicted on a federal charge in 2004 of being a convicted felon in possession of a gun, Guest said. He was sentenced in 2005 to 2 1/2 years to be served at the same time as a burglary charge in state court in Hinds County. He was sent back to prison on a probation violation for a six-month sentence in March 2011.


Associated Press writer David Brandt contributed to this report.