Victims in weekend shooting spree identified

Published 9:26 am Monday, May 29, 2017

The eight people fatally shot over the weekend have been identified by authorities.

The preliminary investigation indicates the suspect in custody, Willie Corey Godbolt, was either related to or an acquaintance of each victim, said Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain. Godbolt, 35 of 377 Brister Street in Bogue Chitto, is still hospitalized at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy William Durr, 36, was killed while answering a call at 2871 Lee Road in Bogue Chitto. Strain identified the other three killed at the home as Barbara Mitchell, 55, Brenda May, 53, and Tocarra May, 35.

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The two people killed at 312 East Lincoln Road in Brookhaven were Ferral Burage, 45, and Shelia Burage, 46, Strain said.

Two others were also killed in the shooting spree. They were fatally shot at a home at 1658 Coopertown Road in Brookhaven. Strain did not name them. He said it was a juvenile, age unknown, and a 17-year-old male.

However, school officials have identified the two boys as Austin Edwards, a student at Lipsey School, and Jordan Blackwell, a student at Brookhaven High School.

Godbolt will likely be charged with one count of capital murder and seven counts of first degree murder, Strain said. 

Durr was a two-year veteran of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and a four-year veteran of the Brookhaven Police Department, Strain said. Durr is the first Lincoln County officer killed in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Authorities are calling it a shooting spree.

Godbolt was taken into custody shortly before 7 a.m. Sunday near Super Jack’s at East Lincoln Road and Hwy. 84.

A 16-year-old male Godbolt had taken as a hostage was found safe, Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said.

Strain said Godbolt was taken to UMMC for a gunshot wound to his arm. He was shot prior to his arrest, Strain said, possibly by one of the victims or someone at one of the three locations where Godbolt is accused of fatally shooting the eight people.

The shooting spree began at approximately 11:30 p.m. with a call at Lee Road, Strain said. 

It appears the suspect then fatally shot individuals at Coopertown Road and East Lincoln Road, he said.

Godbolt could face additional charges such as auto burglary and kidnapping, Strain said.

Godbolt will not be returned to Lincoln County jail immediately. He will be housed in an undisclosed facility once he is released from UMMC, Strain said.

School officials are mourning the death of the two Brookhaven students as well as Durr and the other victims.

“The Brookhaven School District sends our condolences and prayers to all of the families that have been impacted by last night’s tragic events,” said Brookhaven School District Deputy Superintendent Rod Henderson Sunday. “We offer our support and love to everyone during this difficult time.”

Blackwell was a incoming senior and a linebacker for the Panther football team. 

He was named to the All-State Second Team this past season. Blackwell had 86 total tackles, 64 of them solo tackles, three sacks and averaged just over seven tackles per game

Coach Tommy Clopton said Blackwell’s teammates are grieving his death.

“He was a young man that was full of life,” he said. “He was an extremely competitive young man who brought out the competitiveness in those around him.

“He’s an irreplaceable person. We will no doubt miss him for days, weeks, years to come.”

Clopton said Blackwell has been a starter for Ole Brook since 10th grade year.

He had recently received scholarship offers from University of Central Arkansas and Jackson State University, Clopton said.

The coach said he had been meeting with his players throughout the day Sunday.

“We will have some time together in the morning to try to help them work their way through their loss, he said Sunday afternoon.

“Our prayers go out to all the Blackwell and Edwards families,” he said.