On Sept. 19, a police officer shot and killed a man who had just killed a woman in a small-town convenience store.
The Shannon Police Department responded to a call at Griggs Store on Romie Hill Avenue in Shannon just before 6 a.m.
Lee County Coroner Carolyn Green confirmed the identity of the victims — the man and woman as Kentorrey Sims, 32, and Shaharah Coggins, 38. Green sent both bodies to Pearl for autopsies.
“When the girl (Coggins) came in, she ran to the corner, and there was no escape. If she had went another way, in that store ...,” Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson’s voice trailed off thinking about what could have happened. “When you walk in that front door, there’s the counter and to the left is where she was, against the wall. A simple 15-degree turn would have put every single person, in that store, in the line of fire.”
The officer had just stopped in, as many local residents do. Griggs Grocery and Deli carrys groceries, bar-b-que chicken is a specialty and it’s always busy early in the morning for biscuits and coffee. When Coggins approached the officer she said something like “he’s going to kill me.”
“The police officer was talking to her and the suspect came in right behind her. The police officer confronted him. He (Sims) pulled out a weapon, reached over the officer and fired two rounds, striking her in the throat area,” Johnson said. “The police officer drew his weapon and fatally shot the suspect. The shots to her did not kill her immediately, but she died on the scene.”
An elderly woman, at the scene, who claimed to be her grandmother said, “She told me ‘Today I feel like he’s going to shoot me, kill me.’ And he did. And it was a good thing the cop was in there. She’s four months pregnant. She jumped under whatever she could. I’m just upset. I’m just upset.”
The sheriff confirmed the couple were is some type of relationship. The killing apparently spilled over from domestic violence. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, as is usual for fatal shootings involving law enforcement officers, will examine what happened.
“The incident was captured on a store surveillance camera. It happened in an instant, it was very quick,” Johnson said. “We certainly credit the officer with his quick actions, because if he hadn’t been in there and took the measures he took, there’s no telling what would have happened.”
On Sept. 21 the West Point community gathered at Zuber Park to pay their respects to Coggins. Ashley Jones, Coggins' niece, said the purple theme represented domestic violence awareness. She said the vigil was not just to celebrate her aunt's life, but also to take a stand against domestic violence.