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Mississippi man charged in murder at local motel

Room 223 at the Town House Inn on East Jackson Boulevard (with boarded-up windows) was the scene of a murder Dec. 22. Photo by Gregory Dullum

A 26-year-old Mississippi man was disarmed, arrested and charged with murder following an early morning shooting spree on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at the Town House Inn, 517 E. Jackson Blvd.

At approximately 4:03 a.m., the Jackson Police Department received a call of an active shooter at the Town House Inn. The suspect was described as a black male wearing a white t-shirt.

Officers responded and contained the area. They located Clifton Darnell Smith, Jr., 26, of Oxford, MS, on the second floor balcony. He matched the description of the suspect, and he was holding a .40 caliber Sig Sauer SP2022 pistol.

Officers ordered Smith to drop his weapon. He complied and was taken into custody without further incident.

The police say Smith had unlawfully entered several rooms of the motel. Inside one of the rooms, Smith shot two adult males, killing one and leaving the other in critical condition from multiple gunshot wounds.

Smith then exited the room and began shooting through the windows into other occupied rooms before he was taken into custody by the Jackson Police Department with assistance from the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the probable cause statement, officers examining Smith’s pistol found one round in the chamber and three in the magazine. All four rounds bore “R-P 40S&W” headstamps.

Officers were advised that there were injured parties in room 223. Upon entering the room, they saw an injured 32-year-old white male lying on his back directly below the window with blood on his chest and hands.

A second white male of unknown age was lying dead against the door. He had a gunshot wound to his chest and lower abdomen area. He had a Kimber .45 caliber pistol under his right arm.

The investigation revealed that Smith had entered room 223 uninvited through an unsecured door. Once inside, he fired his handgun at the two occupants, according to the probable cause statement.

Officers searched the area for other possible victims.

During the search, a bullet hole was discovered in the window of room 221. The bullet had ricocheted off the wall above the bed and struck the wall in the bathroom, narrowly missing the occupant’s head.

Another bullet hole was discovered in the window of room 111. The bullet had entered into a roll-away bed, had gone through the mattress and box spring, and had come to rest next to the night stand. This room was occupied at the time, but no one was hurt.

Smith had shot through the windows of these two rooms knowing (or reasonably should have known) that the two rooms were occupied, the probable cause statement said.

During the execution of a search warrant in room 223 (the victims’ room), police found six .40 caliber shell casings, all with “R-P 40S&W” head stamps and a spent bullet. There were bullet strikes on the inside of the metal door and one on the threshold under the door.

While executing a search warrant in room 222 (Smith’sroom), police found a small clear rocklike substance which field-tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine, baggies with methamphetamine residue and a folded up dollar bill that had a white powdery substance on it which proved also to be methamphetamine.

The occupants of another room (room 224) told police they were asleep when one of them awoke to noises in the room at 3:51 a.m. (prior to the shooting). That occupant saw Smith at the foot of his bed. He told police that Smith had entered his unsecured room uninvited and had told him, “One of you are going to die tonight; this is some illuminati sh–,” according to the probable cause statement.

Police attempted to interview Smith, but he refused to talk. He was taken into custody and is being held in the Cape Girardeau County Detention Center. Bond is set at $2 million cash only.

The Cape County Prosecuting Attorney’s office has charged Smith with murder first degree, armed criminal action, assault first degree, unlawful use of a weapon, and burglary first degree.

The charge of an offense is merely an accusation or allegation. The defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at cashbook@mvp.net.

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