Mississippi Gaming Commission officer dies in accidental shooting during training exercise


TUNICA, Mississippi (AP) — The Mississippi Gaming Commission’s new director of investigations died Wednesday after he was shot during a training exercise at the agency’s office in Tunica County.

John Gorman of Madison was pronounced dead at the scene at the commission’s office in Robinsonville, south of Memphis, Tennessee. Gorman had worked as an enforcement officer for the commission for 20 years, and was named investigations director Tuesday. He most recently was director of the commission’s field office in Vicksburg. WLBT-TV (http://bit.ly/1zxolBi ) reports Gorman was 45 years old and married with two daughters.

Allen Godfrey, the commission’s executive director in Jackson, said officers were in training when a gun discharged. Godfrey said the investigation is ongoing and the commission did not release the name of the other officer involved in the incident.

A telephone call to Godfrey’s office was not answered Wednesday.

Gaming Commission chairman John Hairston called the incident a “tragic accident.”

“Both officers were very skilled, deeply experienced and my understanding is both were certified instructors. It was a freak accident, and leaves two grieving families deserving of our support and prayer,” Hairston said.

The incident occurred about 9 a.m. at the commission office near Tunica’s Casino Strip.

Commission enforcement officers monitor casinos to ensure they are following state laws. The Gaming Commission has district offices in Tunica, Vicksburg and Biloxi. The headquarters is in Jackson.

Godfrey said the agency has 66 enforcement officers statewide.

This is the first time since the Gaming Commission was formed nearly 22 years ago that an officer has been killed on duty.

Gov. Phil Bryant, in a statement, said he and his wife, Deborah, were saddened to learn of Gorman’s death.

“His loss will be felt by his loved ones and colleagues alike. Our prayers are with his family, his friends and the Mississippi Gaming Commission during this difficult time.”