By Monica Land
JACKSON – Anyone traveling in the west Jackson area Tuesday afternoon knew something was wrong. Patrolmen raced down the streets – sirens screaming and traffic halted – as they barreled toward UMC Hospital to learn the fate of three of their own.
In the end, the news was not good – one dead, two injured.
Thirty-seven-year-old Michael J. Walter, an officer with the Pearl Police Department was pronounced dead at 11:56 a.m. at UMC, Walter was shot in the head after officials said he and another officer were shot while trying to serve a warrant on 30-year-old Carnell Gaines Jr.
Before he was shot and killed, Gaines also shot Officer Dave McCarley in the leg and hand and a third officer, Shaun Terwilliger, was injured inside the apartment, but his injuries were not caused by gunfire, WLBT reported.
McCarley and Terwilliger were both listed in stable condition Tuesday evening.
WLBT reported that the officers were attempting to serve an arrest and search warrant on Gaines at The Grande at Colony Park apartment complex in Pearl Tuesday morning. Gaines was wanted for the alleged sexual battery of a child.
Officers had reportedly entered the apartment, and Gaines fled to a bathroom. Gaines refused to show his hands, and as officers tried to taze him he fired his weapon, WLBT reported.
“They [the officers] were ambushed,” one police official said.
Pearl Police Lieutenant Butch Townsend said in a statement “Today the Pearl Police Department lost an officer in the line of duty. This is a sad first for our town.”
“Today we are saddened beyond words that we have lost one of our state’s finest,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “We mourn this loss with our fellow law enforcement officers and we pray for Detective Walter’s family, friends and co-workers. Heaven is welcoming a hero today.”
Authorities also said Gaines, who reportedly only had one prior conviction, for drugs in Hinds County, may have had images of child pornography in the apartment.
Pearl officials said Officer Walter was hired by the Pearl Police Department in February 2009 as a patrol officer and was promoted in October 2010 to an investigator, WLBT said.
Walter also played professional baseball for the Houston Astros from 1993-2000.
Townsend said that besides his family, Walter had three passions: the San Diego Chargers, professional baseball and law enforcement.
“No words can express our feeling of loss at this time. Mike was a beacon of sunshine. Nothing but kind words for all. Seldom did a smile leave his face and his smiles were never bigger than when he would speak of his wife and daughter,” Townsend said.