Accused killer Joaquin Blackwell had been in the custody of the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department undergoing an involuntary evaluation at a mental health center in the southern town of Mendenhall at the time of the shooting on Friday afternoon, the local CBS station reported.
While there, he somehow stole the gun of James Blair, a 77-year-old deputy on duty, Friday afternoon, the station reported.
Blackwell then fled into the woods with the weapon, triggering manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies, officials said, according to the local NBC affiliate.
Blair was the first responder his entire adult life, working previously as a paramedic and school resource officer, the station reported.
He had reportedly put off retirement so he could afford to raise his grandsons after their mother passed away.
Blackwell was last seen shirtless and in boxer shorts and is considered armed and dangerous, police said.