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$460,000 bond set for drive-by shooting suspect

NATCHEZ — A Natchez municipal judge set a $460,000 bond Friday for a man police arrested last week on charges connected to a Christmas Eve drive by shooting that injured a man on Minor Street.

Natchez Municipal Court Judge Lisa Dale set the $300,000 bond for Damien Hayes in municipal court on Friday, Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong said.

Hayes was arrested Wednesday and was charged with attempted murder, drive-by shooting, shooting in a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance and a federal charge of possession of a stolen firearm.

Dale set the following bonds on Hayes’ charges: $300,000 for the attempt murder charge; $100,000 for the drive by shooting charge; $50,000 for the shooting in a vehicle charge and $10,000 for possession of a controlled substance charge.

Hayes also faces an indictment on federal charge for possession of a stolen firearm, Armstrong said.

The attempted murder charge stemmed from a Christmas Eve drive-by shooting that injured a man on Minor Street.

Last Wednesday, Armstrong said police officers went to the residence of Destiny Smith at 327A Dumas Drive and arrested Hayes for attempted murder and drive-by shooting in connection to the Dec. 24 shooting.

“Damien was found hiding in the closet,” Armstrong said last week. “The resident (Destiny Smith) was arrested and charged with harboring a fugitive along with four other outstanding warrants that were unrelated to the incident.”

Damien was also found to be in possession of a Taurus 9mm and several bags of marijuana, Armstrong said.

Natchez police officers were dispatched at 11:43 p.m. Dec. 24 to Merit Health Natchez in response to a report of a person who had been shot.

“Contact was made with the victim who advised that the shooting had actually taken place on Minor Street,” Armstrong said at the time. “The victim was then transported to UMMC by ambulance where he underwent surgery for the gunshot wounds he received.”

Police had been searching for Hayes ever since the Dec. 24 drive-by shooting.

“We had been beating the bushes for him ever since last December 2019,” Armstrong said of Hayes’ arrest.

Another suspect, Tyrell White, was taken into custody on Dec. 31 in connection with the shooting.

During White’s arrest he was found to be in possession of a stolen firearm, thereby receiving an additional charge of possession of a stolen firearm, Armstrong said.