BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. — The Latest on the death of a Mississippi police chief (all times local):
A sheriff’s deputy says a Mississippi police chief killed himself soon after learning that authorities were investigating allegations that he illegally sold city-owned firearms.
Hancock County Chief Deputy Don Bass told The Associated Press on Friday that Bay St. Louis police chief Mike DeNardo illegally sold one city-owned assault rifle. He says authorities were looking into allegations that other city-owned weapons were sold as well.
Bass says it wasn’t clear whether the buyer knew the gun was being sold illegally.
Bass says he couldn’t confirm whether the weapon was evidence from a case or had been purchased for use by the department.
DeNardo was informed of the investigation Thursday at city police headquarters. Bass says DeNardo went to the parking lot, retrieved a shotgun from his trunk and shot himself.
An official says federal investigators had received “unsubstantiated criminal intelligence” about a Mississippi police chief who killed himself but had not yet opened a formal investigation.
Jason Denham, the resident agent in charge for the Gulfport field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, says the agency received the allegations only a day or two before Bay St. Louis Police Chief Mike DeNardo’s death.
He said Friday that the agency had not confronted him about the allegations.
He said the agency would have moved forward to confirm or dispel the allegations. He could not go into details about what the allegations were.
DeNardo shot and killed himself in the parking lot of the city’s police station Thursday.
Residents of the beachside city of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, are coping with news that the local police chief killed himself.
Retired fire chief Bobby Gavagnie (GAH’-veh-nee) called Chief Mike DeNardo a “fine individual.” He says DeNardo was well-liked in Bay St. Louis and that news of his suicide puts the town in “a daze.”
Local author Leona Lee, on a Friday morning walk near a strip of boutiques and art galleries just off the beach, says she couldn’t imagine what drove DeNardo to shoot himself in the chest Thursday.
Neither Gavagnie nor Lee said they knew much about why DeNardo was suspended without pay shortly before his death. Mayor Les Fillingame says DeNardo was being investigated by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, but he wouldn’t discuss why.
The city council in a Mississippi town where the police chief shot and killed himself has turned control of the police department over to the sheriff’s office.
The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/2cdwils ) reports that Bay St. Louis Councilman Doug Seal made the motion to turn over control during a Thursday evening council meeting called after the shocking shooting in the police department’s parking lot.
Seal says it’s a temporary situation for a period of “healing for our fellow officers and employees.”
Bay St. Louis Police Chief Mike DeNardo shot himself in the chest Thursday. Officials have said the shooting appeared intentional. He was in the parking lot of the police station after having been suspended from his duties. Officials have not said why he was suspended.
Officials say a Mississippi police chief had been suspended just before he shot and killed himself outside the station.
Hancock County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Don Bass says Bay St. Louis Police Chief Mike DeNardo shot himself in the chest Thursday. He says the shooting appeared to be intentional.
Bass says DeNardo was standing outside a vehicle in the parking lot when he shot himself. He did not have information on who found him and reported the shooting.
Mayor Les Fillingame says DeNardo was under investigation by the sheriff’s office and had just been suspended. He wouldn’t give details but said he believed DeNardo would have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The police department’s website says DeNardo had worked there since 2004 and the mayor appointed him chief in 2010.