Medics ran to aid of victim
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:00 PM
CANTON - Paramedics had run across the street from their station after hearing gunshots and were trying to revive a woman as Mayor Arnel Bolden arrived at his insurance agency two doors down on Monday.
Law enforcement tape off the parking lot near Family Dollar in Canton following a deadly shooting on Monday.
Medics were trying to resuscitate 29-year-old Melissa Primer. Her assailant was her 52-year-old step-father, Torrez Harris, who had fled on foot and was holed-up in a nearby laundromat where he was eventually shot dead by police when he raised a weapon.
Primer later died after being airlifted to University Medical Center.
Canton resident Maggie Anthony was still on the scene when TV crews arrived, and told reporters she witnessed Primer's shooting.
"The next thing, he started to raise his arm, extended it and started shooting into the car," Anthony said. "I heard five shots. There was a child that came out of the back seat on the driver's side."
The unidentified child was apparently not harmed.
Harris, witnesses told police, announced to the patrons of the laundry that he wasn't going to go back to jail and was shot and killed minutes later when he refused to relinquish the pistol police say he used to murder Primer.
"One of my officers, as well as a Canton officer, became involved in a chase of a suspect and cornered the suspect in the coin laundry you see behind me," Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker told WAPT.
"Officers tried to reason with the gentleman and get him to put his weapon down. He did not comply with those orders. He, in turn, raised his firearm at the officers, and unfortunately, the officers had to discharge their weapons and the suspect is deceased at this time."
Harris was pronounced dead at the scene, Primer about 90 minutes later in Jackson.
The Sheriff's Department, Canton Police and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are still investigating the events that led to the shooting, but initial reports were that it came as a result of a domestic dispute.
Both Harris and Primer lived at the 917 Peace Street home where the shooting occurred. Primer's three children are reportedly staying with their grandmother.
A neighbor, who asked to not be identified, said he received a phone call from his daughter Monday morning asking him to come home from work because someone had been shot.
"They never gave the slightest indication that there were problems," the man said. "They have only been there nine months or so, and they have pretty much kept to themselves."
He added that nobody had been at the residence since the shooting, but that it appeared someone was there Wednesday morning.
A knock at the door went unanswered.
Police incident reports were not ready for release as of press time Wednesday, but a Canton Police spokesman said they could be ready as early as Friday.
Police Chief Otha Brown was unavailable for comment because court was in session Wednesday, and Tucker, whose office is heading up the investigation, did not return multiple calls for additional comment.
The names of the officers who shot Harris have also not been released, and it's unclear whether they are on paid leave, as is routine procedure in a police-involved shooting.
On Wednesday, Bolden said he was still trying to put together exactly what happened, and why.
"It's sad to see this type of senseless tragedy play out in our city," Bolden said.
"Regrettably, [law enforcement] can't prevent this kind of random act of violence. All we can do is continue to keep the families of these two people in our thoughts and prayers."