7/2/2019

A Mississippi man allegedly told deputies that he was “alligator hunting” when he accidentally shot and killed his friend.

Stephen McLaurin, 53, was arrested and has multiple charges pending against him, including second degree — not premeditated — murder, the Jones County Sheriff’s Office announced on Facebook on Monday.

On Friday night, Jones County deputies responded to a call and found the body of a man lying on a closed bridge, just outside Ellisville city limits, authorities said.

The victim was not named in the sheriff’s office’s news release. A message left with the Jones County coroner was not immediately returned.

Investigators worked through the night and into the following day on the suspicious death case, the post said.

On Sunday, law enforcement spotted the victim’s vehicle in Laurel. There was a brief pursuit and officers found McLaurin, of Ellisville, behind the wheel. McLaurin was taken into custody and charged with felony fleeing and felony taking of a motor vehicle, the sheriff’s office said.

During an interview with law enforcement, McLaurin identified himself as the victim’s friend, authorities said. He allegedly confessed that they were “alligator hunting” off a bridge when McLaurin’s gun jammed.

When McLaurin was trying to dislodge the gun, authorities said, he accidentally shot his friend. McLaurin allegedly said he panicked and drove away in the victim’s vehicle. He also allegedly said he did not try to call 911. He said he panicked when he saw law enforcement a few days later and fled, the post said.

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