CANTON, Miss. – Police say the mother of the suspect in a fatal courthouse shooting was shot in her car just two days earlier.
Canton Police Chief Otha Brown said the mother of 24-year-old William B. Wells was shot and wounded Saturday, two days before cops say Wells shot Kendrick Armond Brown, 37, in a small courtyard outside a criminal courthouse in Mississippi.
Brown said Wells' mother drove herself to the Police Department, reported she'd been shot, and was transferred to a hospital in an ambulance. Brown refused to give her name, citing the ongoing investigation.
Earlier, Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest said the Saturday shooting involved a relative of the suspect. Guest described the relative as a female "informant."
Wells is a former Canton city firefighter who previously "hadn't been in any trouble," Police Chief Otha Brown said.
A 10 a.m. bail hearing is set for Tuesday.
Guest said Kendrick Brown was waiting outside the courthouse with his lawyer and was expected to appear in court on drug charges. An indictment said Brown had been charged with the sale of cocaine and conspiracy to sell the drug, and he had a history as a habitual offender.
The Feb. 10 indictment said Brown was accused of selling less than 2 grams of cocaine in March 2014. He was indicted as a habitual offender, with papers showing he had been convicted on two separate charges of selling cocaine in 2002 and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003.
Brown also was convicted in 1997 on charges of selling less than once ounce of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Court papers show he was sentenced to three years in state prison on those charges.
Guest said prosecutors expected Brown to reject a plea offer on Monday and the judge would then set the case for trial.
The shooting happened outside Madison County's criminal courthouse in Canton, a historic antebellum town known for its Christmas light festival on the town square.
Authorities said Wells got out of a car, walked up and shot Brown once with a semiautomatic handgun. Deputies emerged from the courthouse, and Wells laid down the handgun and was arrested without a struggle, Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker said.
Brown was hit once in the chest and died on the scene, Tucker said. He described the shooting as unfolding quickly.
In the courtyard, two semicircles of four benches surround a flagpole. Law enforcement officials searched with metal detectors under crepe myrtle trees, looking for the shell from the handgun. But despite an hour of sifting through pine straw, Tucker said, authorities had not yet found the shell.
There are metal detectors inside the courthouse door, but the parking lot is open to the public and unguarded. The Canton Police Department sits at the rear of the parking lot, less than 200 yards from the front door of the courthouse.
Guest said he thought there was little that deputies could have done to prevent the shooting. "There would have been, in my opinion, no way this could have been stopped," Guest said.
Canton is the seat of Madison County, just north of Jackson. The south end of the county is a rapidly growing suburb, while the northern half is poorer and a more traditional part of the South. Canton also is the home of a Nissan assembly plant that employs more than 6,000 people. Canton's population is about 13,000.
The 1996 movie "A Time to Kill," based on John Grisham's novel, was filmed in part at the courthouse. In the movie, a father played by Samuel L. Jackson goes to court and kills two men on trial over the rape of his daughter.