On Oct. 21, 2020, officers were contacted by the North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC) about an individual, who was brought to the hospital, with gunshot wounds.
The victim was later pronounced dead and an investigation began. Investigators determined the victim was Arlandus Cortez Shack, 21, of 246 Mattox Road.
Investigators determined that Shack had suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
“We had a witness, who claimed to have been in the vehicle (which was taken as evidence at the hospital) but was under the influence of alcohol and asleep when the shots rang out. The witness drove Shack to the hospital — he said he woke up, because of the gun shots and saw his (Shack) body lying on the ground,” said Lee County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Drew Chisholm. “At that time, we didn’t know where the crime scene was and we didn’t know who shot Shack.”
The vehicle belonged to Shack’s father. It has been reported that Shack was out on bond awaiting trial for a 2018 murder in Verona.
“After going back and reviewing that, he (Shack) was brought in on a murder charge but at the end of the day — I don’t even think it went to grand jury,” Chisholm said.
“There has never been an indictment, Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said. “J.D. Long, with the Verona City of Police, was handling that case, and he’s no longer there. The D.A.’s office confirmed there had never been an indictment.”
This witness, who brought the individual to the hospital, revealed that the shooting took place on a county road in the Verona area but was not very specific.
“The witness was brought up here to the sheriff’s department so I could discuss what he did know. He gave me very little information as to who was all with them. He tried, but he was under the influence, so anything he said wasn’t really a stable statement,” Chisholm said. “We were just trying to put the pieces together. He did take us back to where he felt the scene was.”
“The actual shooting took place in Shannon, about behind where the Mississippi State AgriCenter is,” Johnson said.
Deputies then began canvassing the area and found the shooting location and secured the area. Several pieces of evidence including spent rounds and other evidence were found at the scene. It is believed the vehicle used to transport Shack to the hospital was at the crime scene during the time of the gunfire.
“The witness, after talking to family members of the deceased, was a very close friend of Shack’s. They said it was a daily routine for Shack to pick up the witness and the two cruised the town,” Chisholm said.
An altercation occurred while multiple people were in the vehicle and during this altercation numerous rounds were fired, striking Shack. One individual fled on foot from the scene and was later detained by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.
Based on evidence, on the scene and in the vehicle, enough information was obtained to charge a suspect, Randy Johnson, 17, of Shannon. R. Johnson is a virtual student at Nettleton High School.
“The shooter actually came up here with family members and his mother told me her son may have some information, so we sat down and I let her talk,” Chisholm said. “She volunteered the information that an altercation did take place between the two (Shack and R. Johnson) and her son pulled the trigger.”
R. Johnson has been charged with felony first degree murder.
“At that time, the son admitted to me that he had consumed alcohol himself. And being a minor, with no tolerance, I placed a hold on him. He was back here, in our facility, and I gave him plenty of time to sober up. Once sober, we did attempt to interview him but he asked for representation from an attorney,” Chisholm said.
Lee County Coroner Carolyn Green sent Shack’s body to the state crime lab, in Pearl, for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The body will also be used to possibly recover more evidence.
“There was a gun, used by the suspect (R. Johnson), that was recovered. It was at a home in Shannon, where he lived with his mother. We’re in the process of getting ballistics. I can tell you the shell casings do match up to the caliber of the weapon,” Chisholm said.
Through the investigation it was also determined that Shack and R. Johnson weren’t just acquaintances but friends.
“The reports we have gotten and from speaking to people who know both parties, the two were actually friends,” Chisholm said.
“We can even show, prior to this event, that they (Shack and R. Johnson) ran around together. The reason we want to emphasize that is to show this was not where someone was forced to get in a car,” the sheriff said. “There is definitely evidentiary proof they (Shank and R. Johnson) were in this car the week before, running around together.”
As of presstime Wednesday, R. Johnson remains in the Lee County Jail and had not been before a judge. Autopsy results have not been returned.
If you have additional information about this crime, please call (662) 841-9040.