One more dead, another wounded — Rural Mississippi community continues to be rocked by series of gang-related shooting.

Published 7:09 am Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Arguments over girls, drugs, money and the availability of automatic weapons led to two more reported shootings in Panola County this week. One man was killed on Smart Road near Como early Sunday morning, and another was seriously wounded late Monday at a house on Old Panola Road, northwest of Como near the Tate County line.

Sheriff Shane Phelps said investigators are continuing to interview witnesses and follow up on tips in both cases, but neither are believed to be part of the gang shootings that plagued north Panola County earlier this month, resulting in deaths in Sardis and Como.

Phelps is currently in quarantine and wasn’t able to be part of either investigation, but has been kept apprised of developments from his Pope home.

In the Sunday shooting, deputies arrested Rodrick Cortez Birge, 27. He is being held at the David Bryan Detention Center on suspicion of first degree murder, and will make an initial appearance in Justice Court this week.

The victim, Darius McNeil, 26, passed away at Delta Health Highland Hills emergency room in Senatobia.

Investigators have a person of interest in the second case, but no arrests had been made as of Tuesday morning. The victim was reportedly in stable condition following surgery for his injuries.

Phelps said anyone with information about either shootings should call Crimestoppers at 662-209-2011 to make a confidential report.

“If you saw something, say something,” Phelps reminded the public. “Law enforcement depends on the eyes and ears of citizens to make Panola County the safest place we possibly can. Don’t hesitate to pass on any information you may have because it may be what solves a case and helps us bring closure.”