JACKSON, Miss. » The mother of a man who shot four Mississippi state troopers and was killed by police says police refused to let her talk to her son during nearly six hours of negotiations.
Katherine Hudson of Iuka said she thinks family members could have convinced Charles Lee Lambert, 45, to leave without bloodshed.
Lambert had holed up in a house near Iuka in northern Mississippi. Police stormed the house early Saturday. Lambert began shooting. James Lee Tartt, 44, an agent in the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, was killed and three other officers were wounded in the shootout that followed.
A preliminary autopsy report indicates that Tartt was hit in the left shoulder by a single bullet from an assault rifle, and the bullet ricocheted within his body, Tishomingo County Coroner Mack Wilemon said Sunday night. He said he thought Saturday that Tartt had been hit by more bullets, but was mistaken.
Lambert also was killed; his autopsy has not yet been performed.
“We could have talked to him and everything would have been all right,” Hudson told The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said the officers are trained, and their first goal is keeping people alive. The family is entitled to their opinion on how the incident was handled, he said, and declined further comment.
He did not respond Sunday to The Associated Press’s emailed and phoned queries about Hudson’s comments and the names, conditions and other information about the three wounded officers.
Jasper County Sheriff Randy Johnson identified the most seriously wounded officer, who was hospitalized in Corinth, as Trea (TRAY) Staples.
Strain said Saturday that officers had exhausted negotiations when they stormed the house.
He described Tartt as a decorated officer who had been in law enforcement for 22 years. He joined the narcotics bureau in 2000 and in 2011 had been honored as agent of the year, Strain said.
Strain said Tartt is the fifth Bureau of Narcotics agent killed in the agency’s 45-year history. The last agent killed was in 1998.
Tartt’s family described him as a dedicated officer who had spent most of his career as a narcotics officer.
His uncle Don Tartt told the newspaper that Lee Tartt and had married about a year ago, making him stepfather to his wife’s two children. The family had just moved into a house that had taken his nephew two years to build, Don Tartt said.
Don Tartt’s wife, Julia Criss Tart, said, “He was just a really good guy, and he wanted to make the world a better place.”