Suspect accused of killing sheriff deputy arrested, faces capital murder charge

Published 3:13 pm Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The suspect in the shooting death of sheriff’s deputy Lt. Michael Boutte has been arrested on a capital murder charge.

Joseph Michael Rohrbacker, 30, is being held on a charge of capital murder in connection to the Feb. 1 shooting that killed Bouette on Earl C. Ladner Road in Hancock County.

A capital offense carries a maximum sentence of life without parole or death by lethal injection.

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Boutte was responding to a 911 call about a suicide threat, when the shooting happened.

According to the Biloxi Sun-Herald, Rohrbacker’s wife, Shannon Rohrbacker, said he had a “mental meltdown” and she called for help when no one could calm him down. She made the call after Rohrbacker cut her dog’s throat. Shannon Rohrbacker said he husband suffers from bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia.

When Bouette arrived at the scene, he was met by gunfire from the suspect. Bouette and Joseph Rohrbacker exchanged gunfire.

Joseph Rohrbacker was sent to a Louisiana hospital to be treated for his injuries. He was arrested Tuesday after he was released from the hospital.

Rohrbacker is being held in the Harrison County jail.