Hazlehurst, MS – A Hazlehurst police officer responded to a report of a shooting early on Sunday morning and found her worst nightmare had come true when she realized her oldest son was the victim.
Hazlehurst Police Officer Laquandia Cooley was on duty patrolling the community at about 2 a.m. on Jan. 2 when she responded to a report of a gunshot victim on Larkin Street, WLBT reported.
When she arrived on the scene, Officer Cooley found the victim lying dead in the middle of the street with a gunshot wound to his head.
She said the victim was her eldest son, 20-year-old Charles Stewart, Jr., WLBT reported.
“We initially responded to the call, not knowing when I made it over there, the person was going to be my son that was laying there,” Officer Cooley said during an interview with the television station on Monday.
The 42-year-old veteran police officer appeared on camera with Stewart’s father, his 22-year-old sister, and his 17-year-old brother, the Daily Mail reported.
“As we get out, I look and I was like, ‘This is my son, this is my son,” Officer Cooley recalled. “So, I literally just go into a break down you know? Like, why? Who would do this to my son?”
Stewart had already died from the gunshot wound to his head before his mother found him, WLBT reported.
“I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. I was seeing my own son laying there on the ground dead. It was pretty much a panic. It was just, it was too much,” Officer Cooley explained.
At that point, she called Stewart’s father and told him “someone killed our baby,” according to the Daily Mail.
Stewart’s father, Charles Stewart, Sr., said his son was a good man who got along with everyone and he couldn’t believe he had been murdered, WLBT reported.
“It’s traumatizing for the whole family. We’re just trying to cope day to day. Just trying to figure out why this happened and who could have did this,” the father said.
Hazlehurst Police Chief Darian Murray said that the investigation into Stewart’s homicide had been transferred to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) because the victim was the family member of an officer, WLBT reported.
As of Tuesday, no arrests had been made in connection with the case, the Daily Mail reported.
Investigators have not yet discovered a motive for the shooting
Stewart’s sister, Destinequa Hilliard, posted a tribute to her brother on social media, the Daily Mail reported.
“I’m lost,” Hilliard wrote. “How can anybody live after losing a sibling. I’m trying to be the strong one but I’m getting weak I’ll never be able to see my brother again who ever did this is wrong why lord why.”