UPDATE: Murder suspect in custody after 24-hour manhunt

Published 3:05 pm Wednesday, January 5, 2022

NATCHEZ — After a 24-hour manhunt, a man suspected of shooting and killing another turned himself in at Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

In the above video, Michael Thomas, nicknamed “Traedo,” is seen in a red hoodie being transported from ACSO to the Natchez Police Department just before 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The police department announced Thomas was wanted for shooting and killing 33-year-old Johnny Ricardo Mason in the vicinity of Holiday Apartments in Natchez.

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Law enforcement officers worked into the night on a manhunt for Thomas, Natchez Police Chief Daughtry said, as he urged anyone with information to contact the department or Crime Stoppers.

“We left no stone unturned,” he said Wednesday morning prior to Thomas’s arrest. “He’s Natchez’s most wanted. He asked for it. We’re using whatever resources we can to bring him in. Anyone who is caught helping him, I don’t care if it’s as simple as buying him a burger or putting money on a gas card to help him get out of town. If we find out about it and can trace it back to someone, we will put them in jail too.”

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said he had been in contact with Thomas’s mother, who came with Thomas to the Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday afternoon.

“She gave me her word that she would help get him and she, along with her attorney, brought him to me,” Patten said. “It was very hard for her as a parent but she did the right thing.”

Daughtry said Thomas would be charged with murder.

“I said earlier that Natchez is better than this,” Daughtry said. “That has been proven. I’m thankful that citizens responded in the way that they have. Our phones have not stopped ringing and it shows a collaborative effort between law enforcement and the community.

(Thomas’s) mother and grandmother … both talked him into coming in.”

Daughtry said he’d spoken with the family of the victim and Thomas’s family who are devastated.

“We have two families affected by this, the family of the deceased and, looking into his mother and grandmother’s eyes, it has affected them too. There are two families devastated by this incident and I’m thankful that it ended peacefully and that we’re able to start the process.”

Daughtry said officers were dispatched to the scene of the shooting at approximately 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the vicinity of Holiday Apartments, where Mason had been shot.

Daughtry said other civilians, including children, were around when the shooting occurred.

“People were remodeling a building close by, just doing everyday normal activities. A mother and her kids were in a car right in between where stuff was going on. It was disheartening to see. Natchez is better than this. To shoot someone in broad daylight shows a complete disregard for human life,” he said.

Officials said Mason identified the shooter as Michael Thomas, an aspiring rap singer also called “Traedo,” before he died within a few hours later at Merit Health Natchez.

Adams County Coroner James Lee said Mason suffered a gunshot wound to the lower abdomen.

Thomas, a convicted felon, was previously sentenced to serve five years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections after he pleaded guilty to an aggravated assault charge in 2018. He was released after having served three years. Shortly after his release, he was arrested again in June 2021 for allegedly kidnapping his girlfriend at gunpoint. Daughtry said the girlfriend “backpedaled” and wouldn’t press charges.

Calls were received late into the evening from people giving information of where Thomas might be, Daughtry said. As tips led the search outside of the city, Daughtry said Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies were quick to assist and help with the investigation.

“Big thanks to Sheriff (Travis) Patten and his guys yesterday,” he said. “It was a well-oiled machine with law enforcement working together. We were all over the county yesterday in one collaborative effort.”