CHARLESTON, MS (abc24.com) - A Tunica County Sheriff's deputy is recovering after he accidentally shot himself while transporting the suspected Mississippi highway killer.
The accident happened on Wednesday, August 1 while James Willie was being transported from the Tunica County Jail to Charleston, Miss. to face charges in Tallahatchie County.
Willie is accused of shooting and killing two people on Mississippi highways in May. He was appearing in court for a parole violation hearing when the shooting occurred just before lunch.
According to Commander Cedric Davis, "We had our special operations team to escort him there due to the nature of his crime. So it was tight security there because of the nature of his crime. We wanted to make sure not only for his safety but for the public safety as well that when he's transported he's transported with a special operations team."
Tunica County Chief Deputy Randy Stewart says the deputy's gun discharged while he was getting out of a car.. The officer was airlifted to The MED for a gunshot wound to his leg; his condition has not been released but his injuries are not life-threatening.
Commander Davis added that the incident was isolated and did not involve any sort of escape attempt by Willie or his family.
"We're all human; accidents happen, unfortunately it was this type of accident that happened," Davis said. "We're just asking people to pray for the officer and his family."
James Willie, 28, was originally arrested in Tunica on Tuesday, May 15 for sexual assault. At the time of his arrest he was in possession of a handgun, which was matched to the weapon used to kill two people on north Mississippi highways. Tom Schlender, 72, was gunned down May 8. Days later on May 11, Lori Carswell, 47, was murdered as she drove home from work at a Tunica casino.