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Jones County Reserve Deputy arrested and charged with second-degree murder in church shooting



George Ryan Walters

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) has arrested and charged George Ryan Walters, a reserve deputy of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department, with second-degree murder in connection with Sunday’s church shooting. According to MBI, Walters turned himself in to the authorities on Wednesday, and the sheriff’s department confirmed his arrest.

The shooting occurred at The Rock Pentecostal Church in Laurel, where Walters, a member of the church and its security team, was involved in a physical altercation with James Corey Donald, 45. Walters was off-duty at the time of the incident and reportedly shot Donald in the upper torso area. MBI confirmed that Donald died from his injuries on Monday.

The Jones County Sheriff’s Department announced earlier Wednesday that Walters had been placed on administrative leave on Tuesday, pending the outcome of the investigation. The department also stated that Walters would remain on leave until the resolution of the charge.

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety says MBI is leading the investigation and collecting evidence. The Simpson County District Attorney’s Office will receive MBI’s findings once the investigation is complete, and Simpson County District Attorney Chris Hennis has been assigned by Jones County Circuit Judge Dal Williamson to oversee the prosecution of the case.

Walters has been booked into the Jones County Adult Detention Facility and will have his initial appearance in Jones County Justice Court at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The incident has shocked the community, and the investigation is ongoing. The sheriff’s department, MBI, and other law enforcement agencies are urging the public to be patient and allow the legal process to take its course.

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