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Pregnant teen shot and killed, suspect given $1 million bond



Tavaris Atwood
Tavaris Atwood: Photo from Jones County Sheriff’s Office
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A pregnant teenager was shot and killed in Laurel on Monday night, WDAM reports. The victim, identified as 16-year-old Elisa McLemore, later succumbed to her injuries. Jones County Coroner Burl Hall confirmed her death.

The incident occurred around 9:32 p.m. in the 1300 block of North 2nd Avenue, where Laurel Police Department officers responded to a shooting complaint. Upon reaching the scene, they found the young expectant mother with a gunshot wound to her head. She was immediately taken to South Central Regional Medical Center, where her baby was delivered. Subsequently, both mother and baby were transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). McLemore was declared deceased at UMMC.

By Tuesday morning, authorities apprehended a suspect in connection with the shooting. Located at a residence on Highway 37 near Taylorsville by Smith County Sheriff’s Office deputies, the suspect was then handed over to the Laurel Police Department. The individual, identified as 18-year-old Tavaris Atwood of Taylorsville, is currently facing charges of second-degree murder.

His initial appearance in court was scheduled for Wednesday at the Laurel Municipal Court. According to a report by Laurel Leader Call, an affidavit presented by Judge Kyle Robertson at the preliminary hearing, a bystander claimed to have heard an altercation between Atwood and McLemore, followed by a gunshot. Upon investigating, the witness observed Atwood with a firearm and McLemore slumped against a wall.

Leader Call also reports that during the hearing, LPD Investigator Mitch Blakeney informed the judge that Atwood confessed to the shooting in a video-recorded interview. The judge then instructed Atwood to refrain from any communication with the victim’s relatives and issued a $1 million bond.

A connection between the suspect and victim or motive has not been released at this time. The baby is reported to be in good condition. Child Protection Services was called in to assist.

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