Jefferson County, MS – Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) Lieutenant Troy “Rudy” Morris was fatally shot while working a part-time job as a commercial truck driver early Friday morning.
The attack occurred on U.S. 61 at approximately 4 a.m., after Lt. Morris got a flat tire while driving the truck, Jefferson County Sheriff James Bailey told WAPT.
The 58-year-old lieutenant called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and the MHP and asked if someone could help him by responding to watch the mail truck while he waited for another truck to arrive, according to Sheriff Bailey.
“We dispatched a deputy who arrived a short time later and found Mr. Morris had been shot to death inside his truck,” the sheriff told WAPT.
Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell said a team of law enforcement agencies used technology and tips from witnesses to track down Lt. Morris’ accused killers, the Clarion Ledger reported.
Treyon Washington, 24, turned himself in to JCSO and is being held without bond at the Jefferson County Jail.
Cdarrius Norman, 17, and Damion Whittley, 25, were apprehended in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) announced on Saturday, according to the Clarion Ledger.
Whittley and Norman will be extradited back to Mississippi to face charges in connection with Lt. Morris’ murder.
Whittley’s mother, Deedra Madison, said her son was on probation but that the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) never responded to her concerns, including problems with his ankle monitor not working properly, WBLT reported.
“I’m not upholding Damion for anything he did. If he did it, he need to go to prison,” Madison said. “But I just want [the city of] Natchez and MDOC to know that they’re responsible for losing my child. They lost him to the streets. They never came to check on him. And to this day, they haven’t checked on him to see where he is. It’s like they don’t care.”
Gulfport police said that Whittley will also be charged with robbery and murder in connection with the May 8, 2019 death of Delfred Lewis, WLOX reported.
The motive for the attack on Lt. Morris is unclear.
Sheriff Bailey said it did not appear that anything had been stolen from the truck, WAPT reported.
Law enforcement sources said Lt. Morris returned fire during the attack, WLBT reported.
“While we are pleased with the progress of this investigation, we realize there is much work left to be done,” MHP Colonel Randy Ginn told WLBT. “The tireless efforts of law enforcement have been inspiring and the public outpouring of support and concern has touched us all and has shown Lieutenant Morris’ family that Mississippians truly care about the officers who protect them.”
The MBI’s investigation into the lieutenant’s murder is ongoing.
Lt. Morris served the MHP for 27 years, and was one year away from retiring, Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann told the Clarion Ledger.
He had been working his second job as a truck driver for 16 years, WBLT reported.
As part of Lt. Morris’ part-time position with Blackwell Hauling, he was tasked with transporting mail between U.S. Postal Service facilities as part of the company’s contract with the USPS, U.S. Postal Inspector Tony Robinson told The Police Tribune on Tuesday.
“This is a sad day for law enforcement, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and the State of Mississippi,” Commissioner Tindell said, according to FOX News. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Lieutenant Troy Morris. Local, state, and federal agents will work tirelessly to ensure justice.”
Lt. Morris’ fellow troopers described him as a kind man who had a big heart and always made others smile, WLBT reported.
“We are deeply saddened at the loss of Lieutenant Troy Morris,” Col. Ginn said, according to WAPT. “He was a good man, friend, and a valuable member of this agency. He will truly be missed by the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
A fundraising page established to assist Lt. Morris’ family in the wake of their loss has raised $495 so far.
We suffer from the senseless killing of @MSHwyPatrol Lieutenant Troy Morris. A loyal and effective highway patrolman one year from retirement and working a second job. We pray for him and his family, and for expedited justice. https://t.co/jSZhAGUWgD
— Delbert Hosemann (@DelbertHosemann) August 8, 2020
Pearl Police helped escort fallen Mississippi Highway Patrol Lt. Troy Morris to the State Crime Lab in Pearl Friday afternoon. Our prayers for his family, friends and all of MDPS. @MSHwyPatrol pic.twitter.com/haHKAJkazr
— City of Pearl – Government (@PearlGovernment) August 7, 2020
— NYPD Chaplains Unit (@NYPDchaplains) August 8, 2020
It’s Monday morning and our brother isn’t here. As the smoke clears, the weight of his absence is heavy on our hearts. Please continue to pray for the family, friends and co-workers of Lieutenant Troy Morris. pic.twitter.com/Un90Gj9ui3
— MHPBrookhaven (@MHPTroopM) August 10, 2020
Suspects named in the murder of LT. Troy Morris. Two of those were found in New Orleans. More in this release from MBI: pic.twitter.com/IxFedIp0Wc
— Mike Evans (@crabblers) August 8, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mississippi Highway Patrol Lieutenant Troy “Rudy” Morris, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.