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Harrison County

15-year-old boy was shot and killed by Harrison County deputy, MBI official confirms

The victim fatally shot by a Harrison County deputy on Lake Vista Drive has been identified as 15-year-old Seth William Johnson.

Johnson lived at the home where he was shot Monday night, said Warren Strain, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman. The MBI is in charge of the investigation.

Johnson had a knife when deputies confronted him on a complaint that he had stolen a vehicle, officials have said.

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Sheriff Troy Peterson confirmed the shooting in a news release Tuesday.

Lake Vista is in the Cypress Pointe subdivision off Canal Road near Gulfport. Many of the brick homes in the development have three or four bedrooms, Realtor listings show.

Johnson lived with his grandmother along with his siblings, neighbors said.

“She was raising them as their mother,” neighbor Stephanie Morris said. “They call their grandmother their mother.”

A deputy reportedly shot Johnson in the chest. A woman in a nearby home said she heard only one gunshot.

It’s unclear if deputies tried to use less-than-lethal force.

“It would be premature to release the other information at this time as the investigation is continuing,” Strain said.

 

Deputies had gone to the home about 7 p.m. Monday in a follow-up call on a complaint that a vehicle had been stolen, Peterson said in a news release Tuesday.

American Medical Response ambulance company dispatched paramedics to the neighborhood after receiving a complaint of “a man with a knife.”

Peterson did not say what happened before a deputy fired his weapon.

The sheriff referred to Johnson as “an armed suspect” in the news release Tuesday and as “a victim, along with his family,” in a conversation with the Sun Herald.

Peterson declined to answer questions Wednesday, citing the ongoing investigation by the MBI.

“I don’t have any issues with what happened, but the facts need to come out at one time,” Peterson said.

The deputy’s name has not been released, which is typical in officer-related shootings resulting in death on the Mississippi Coast.

The MBI investigates such shootings and its findings are presented to a grand jury.

The deputy’s name probably won’t be released until a Harrison County grand jury rules on the case. Peterson said the deputy who fired the shot is on administrative leave with pay.

It’s unclear how long it will take the MBI to complete its investigation.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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