Man shot by sheriff’s deputy suffers from mental illness

Published 2:44 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The man shot by a sheriff’s deputy last week allegedly suffers from mental illness and the gun he threatened deputies with may have been a toy gun according to family members.

Early Tuesday morning officers responded to a call on Chisholm Drive about a disturbance between a mother, Maria Jones, and her son, Vincent Jones.

When officers arrived, someone on scene said a man had threatened the family with a firearm. Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said while officers on the scene were determining what was going on, the subject threatened the officers with the firearm as well.

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Rushing reported that one of his deputies discharged his firearm at the man. The man was struck in the leg and was transported to University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Jones’s mother, Maria Jones, and sister, Kimberly Williams, said Jones is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic and that the gun was fake, a plastic toy gun. Maria Jones said officers from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office had been to her residence multiple times before concerning her son and the effects of his disorder.

“When the facts were given, it made it seem like he was a thug,” Maria Jones said.

Williams, Jones’s sister, said that on the day of the incident she called 911 with a report of a disturbance. She said that on the call she notified the sheriff’s office that her brother was paranoid schizophrenic and off his medication and that they might need to send two officers.

“I made sure I told them for their safety,” Williams said.

Rushing confirmed that officers had indeed been to the residence before with the last visit on file being in 2010. He said he couldn’t say for sure if the officers that responded to the call that Tuesday morning were aware of Jones’s condition.

Maria Jones said that she and her daughter found out that the gun was not real after officers went into the house to arrest her son and discovered the gun was fake. She said that the responding officers acted within their rights with how they handled the situation. Williams felt the firing of multiple shots – she noted four – was not necessary.

“We don’t hold anything against the officers. They were just doing their jobs,” Maria Jones said.

Maria and Williams said Jones is currently in a mental facility getting the help he needs.

“We’re happy nobody else was injured, including the officers,” Williams said “It could have been worse.”