News Briefs From Across The State
By Monica Land
STARKVILLE – A 21-year-old Jackson man has been charged with capital murder in the shooting death of an MSU student. Mason Perry Jones has been charged with in the Saturday night killing of John Sanderson, also 21.
Sanderson was found about 10:33 p.m. at Evans Hall at Mississippi State University. School officials said he had been shot multiple times and was visiting someone at Evans Hall. Sanderson lived at Rice Hall.
Three black men were seen leaving the campus about five minutes later in a late model blue Crown Victoria.
Authorities said Jones was taken into custody Sunday night after he reportedly exited a Greyhound Bus at a station in Memphis about 7 p.m. under an assumed name.
An anonymous tip led police to the station and Jones was arrested on an outstanding aggravated robbery warrant in Hinds County.
Jones was initially considered a “person of interest” in Sanderson’s murder and formally charged by MSU police on Monday.
Dr. Mark Keenum, president of MSU, said they believed the shooting was an isolated incident because a keycard was required to gain entry into Evans Hall. School officials said Monday they believe the three suspects were let into the dorm by another student.
MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Kibler said the shooting has left him and other students and faculty members feeling violated.
“We are a family,” Kibler told WTVA. “Evans Hall is on campus, the students live on campus, [Dr. Keenum] and his family live on campus, and my family lives with me and I live on campus. Our home has been invaded and that affects us all in a very personal way.”
Police are still looking for two other suspects relating to the crime.
“Our detectives have done outstanding investigative work over the past 48 hours, with tremendous assistance from the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, as well as Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Starkville Police, and Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office,” said MSU Police Chief Georgia Lindley. “We appreciate the hard work and cooperation of all involved.”
“We are extremely proud of the diligence shown by our police officers, who have demonstrated the highest level of professionalism during the investigation of this tragic death,” said MSU President Mark Keenum.
“We work very hard to ensure the safety of our students, and we are all saddened that this isolated event has brought tragedy to our campus and to a family who is grieving the loss of a loved one,” he said.
No motive has been released for the murder.