Southaven, Mississippi - Two DeSoto County Deputies, Sgt. Hunter Garrett, and K9 Deputy Lee Hutchins, were shot Wednesday night after a violent confrontation with an armed robbery suspect.
According to WREG News Channel 3, the incident occurred about 9 PM. The suspect, who was believed to have been involved in three "back-to-back" violent robberies in Horn Lake and Southaven earlier Wednesday night, was spotted by the two deputies in the parking lot of a Kroger store near I-55 and Stateline. DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco said that the suspect was sitting in a parked vehicle. He jumped out of the car after realizing that the deputies had seen him and "took off running" behind Heartland Church.
Sheriff Rasco said that the suspect fired at the deputies, who fired back as they engaged in a gunfight. DeSoto County Sgt. Hunter Garrett was shot in the foot and Desoto County K9 Deputy Lee Hutchins was shot in the chest. Both Deputies were transported to a Memphis hospital for treatment. Sgt. Garrett has since been released. Deputy Hutchins has a collapsed lung and other damaged organs and remains hospitalized in ICU after surgery. He was wearing his ballistic vest, but was struck in a part of the chest which it didn't protect.
DeSoto County District Attorney said that both Deputies were "very, very brave." He said that "the brave officers confronted the suspect," and that "he opened fire on the Deputies" who were shot. K9 Deputy Hutchins' family was by his side at the hospital, while many area law enforcement officers gathered in support at the hospital.
The suspect, whose name has not been released, was killed during the shootout. Sgt. Garrett has worked for six and one-half years and Deputy Hutchins for eight and one-half years with the DeSoto County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Rasco said after the incident that "he will not allow for crimes like these to stand." He also said "I cannot recall when the last time a DeSoto County Sheriff's deputy was shot. We're going to do everything we can to beef up our department and make sure we keep our people safe. We're going to take charge and not let that happen in our county," Hernando Mayor asked "everyone to remember the deputies and all of law enforcement as they tuck their children into bed," according to WBTV.
Our thoughts and prayers are with both recovering DeSoto County Deputies, Sgt. Hunter Garrett and K9 Lee Hutchins.
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