After a manhunt of approximately 18 hours, the man who allegedly shot and killed Denmon Ward, 54, in Wesson Pawn Shop around noon on Tuesday is in custody in Copiah County.
Acting Wesson police chief Chad Sills said that Eric Wayne Holley of Copiah County drove to the Wesson Police Department early Wednesday morning to turn himself in to law enforcement. After an hour standoff, Holley agreed to meet sheriff Harold Jones in the middle of Highway 51, according to Jones. “We weren’t sure if he had a weapon in his possession in his vehicle, and we didn’t want to have to harm him, so we had a lengthy dialogue with the young man that convinced him to surrender,” Jones said. Holley was arrested and taken into custody shortly before 6:00 a.m.
Sills said that Wesson Police, Copiah County Sheriff’s Office and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are still working on the details of the crime. Sills indicated that the subject may have entered the downtown pawn shop and taken several pieces of merchandise before shooting Ward and fleeing in a truck.
“We won’t know exactly what happened until we get all of the investigating agencies together. Then, we will decide what the best route is to proceed as far as what the subject will be charged with,” Sills said Wednesday morning.
Ward is described as a person who would’ve gone out of his way to help anyone. His murder is a shock to the community of 1,700 residents. Authorities believe it to be the first murder in the town for at least a decade.
Witnesses said Tuesday afternoon that shots were heard coming from the business during the lunch hour. The witness that discovered Ward’s body shortly after darted out of the pawn shop and ran about two blocks to the police department to report what she had discovered.
No other suspects are being sought after at this time, Sills said.