Wounded officer from Mississippi welcomed home from hospital as hero

Published 9:41 pm Saturday, August 3, 2019

Concordia Parish Deputy Walter Mackel, who was shot in the line of duty last week, received a warm welcome home Saturday afternoon after being discharged from University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Law enforcement and emergency officials from both sides of the Mississippi River escorted Mackel across the Mississippi River bridge to escort Mackel and his wife Pamala home.

Multiple agencies joined Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office in celebrating Mackel’s return with sirens blaring, including Ferriday and Vidalia Police Departments; Adams County and Catahoula Sheriff’s Offices; Metro and Vidalia Ambulance Services, Concordia E-911 dispatchers; and Monterey, Vidalia and Concordia Parish fire departments.

On July 25, Mackel was shot and while reportedly responding to an armed robbery call at an apartment complex on Carter Street in Vidalia.

Shooting suspect Kaleb Melton, 21, of Vidalia was later found dead inside an apartment while Mackel suffered a bullet wound that struck both his lung and kidney.

“He’s doing well now, and every day he gets better,” said Concordia Parish Chief Deputy David Hedrick Saturday afternoon. “He’s coming home.”

As law enforcement followed Mackel’s vehicle along U.S. 84, bystanders and cars lined the shoulders of the road and watched the police, fire, ambulance and sheriff’s vehicles pass through.

“It’s just overwhelming, the amount of prayers and support we’ve received from everywhere,” Mackel said. “I’m truly blessed being able to come home so early. I don’t know what else to say but thank you. Keep us in your prayers, and hopefully soon I will be back up 100% and back out there in the law enforcement community with everyone else.”