MS Army Camp Shelby shots fired

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week authorities investigated reports that two men fired gunshots from a vehicle “at” soldiers training at Camp Shelby in southern MS, injuring no one. No reports indicated whether the soldiers were armed or attempted to defend themselves, or did anything other than tell the teacher.

Reports indicate that the Mississippi National Guard said soldiers reported hearing “shots” fired along a road near, but outside the training facility. The soldiers who heard the shots, but apparently didn’t see a gun being fired, reported it to their chain of command, who reported it to the local sheriff. Reports also stated that the MSNG “made no mention of whether the shots were believed to have been fired at troops but made clear that the shots are believed to have been fired from outside Camp Shelby.”

A report from the second incident indicates that shots were fired into the air. Another report indicated that only one person was involved. There are conflicting reports. Officials have a “suspect” in custody, who was unarmed and had a backfiring truck. The 61-year-old suspect did have access to a couple of his son’s guns at home and was arrested for being a felon in possession and for disturbing the peace. (“Peace” during Army training? Should it be “disturbing the war?”)

So it appears that soldiers heard what they thought were gunshots fired outside the camp and someone saw a vehicle (but not a gun) from which the shots apparently came on both days. Perry County Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith admitted that “it was not known whether it was an intentional shooting or possibly something like a hunting incident.” The sheriff also said he asked the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and a bomb squad for help and that the FBI and the ATF had been notified. The sheriff, who apparently has no backfire investigator, profusely thanked those agencies and the MSNG for helping out with his noise complaint from the Army, which itself never makes any noise.

It now appears to have simply been a backfiring truck. I’ve never been in the military or to Shelby, but I suspect that Army enlistees today get so little small arms and vehicle training that they are not familiar enough with gunfire or backfires to distinguish between them.

One thing is certain: if you call the ATF and FBI every time someone in rural MS fires a gun, they’re gonna need a LOT more federal agents, and won’t very often discover a crime.

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