Hazlehurst officer finds son’s body in street

Published 8:51 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

A Hazlehurst police officer responded to a fatal shooting Sunday, only to discover the victim was her own son.

“As we get out, I look and I was like, ‘This is my son! This is my son!’” the officer, Laquandia Cooley, said in an interview with an area news source.

Cooley’s son — Charles Stewart Jr., age 20 — was lying in the middle of Larkin Street with a gunshot wound to the head.

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“I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. I was seeing my own son laying there on the ground dead,” Cooley said. “It was pretty much a panic. It was just — it was too much.”

Charles Stewart Sr., the victim’s father, said his son was friendly with everyone.

“It’s traumatizing for the whole family,” he said. “We’re just trying to cope day to day. Just trying to figure out why this happened and who could have done this.”

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is working the case. It was unclear what led to the shooting.