JACKSON, Miss. — A murder suspect wrestled a gun from the detective interrogating him at police headquarters in Mississippi’s capital, then fatally shot the officer before killing himself, authorities said Friday.
Warren Strain of the state’s Bureau of Investigation said Friday that Jeremy Powell, 23, seized the gun from Detective Eric Smith in a third-floor interrogation room while he was being questioned about a stabbing death earlier this week.
Smith, 40, had been with the agency nearly 20 years, was physically fit, and was praised for his work leading numerous high-profile murder investigations, officials said.
“Eric was killed with his own gun,” Strain said.
Ken Winter, executive director of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, said it is not unusual for an officer to be armed in an interview unless it is in a secure area like a jail where visitors are required to check weapons.
‘‘For him to be armed, I’d expect that,’’ Winter said. ‘‘I don’t think I did an interview when I wasn’t armed, unless I was doing it in the jail.’’
But it is rare for an officer to be killed inside a department, Winter said. He could not recall such an instance in recent years in Mississippi.
Smith leaves his wife, a sergeant with the Jackson Police Department, and two sons.
Hinds County Supervisor Robert Anderson remembered Smith for his ‘‘analytical intelligence.’’
‘‘He could develop his own leads and his own information. No one had to tell him what to do,’’ he said.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS