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Two police officers were killed in a shootout early Saturday in Brookhaven, Mississippi, a state official said.

The officers, identified as Cpl. Zach Moak, 31, and Patrolman James White, 35, were responding to a call about shots fired around 5 a.m., Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said.

White was first at the scene, followed by Moak, an emotional Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins told reporters.

From left: Patrolman James White, 35, and Cpl. Zach Moak, 31
Courtesy MBI
From left: Patrolman James White, 35, and Cpl. Zach Moak, 31

“We answer those calls many times and nothing ever happens but this morning something happened,” Collins said. “We lost two of our brave officers.”

The officers were pronounced dead at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven, according to Strain.

“My heart goes out to their families,” Collins said. “You never know when it’s your last day and I just want to thank all the men and women in law enforcement for their bravery and for their service.”

The suspect, Marquis Aaron Flowers, 25, of Brookhaven, was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with the officers, Strain said. He’s in custody at a hospital in Jackson, Strain said. That’s about 55 miles north of Brookhaven, a small city off Interstate 55 in Lincoln County.

Marquis Aaron Flowers, 25
Mississippi Bureau of Investigation
Marquis Aaron Flowers, 25

The officers were wearing body cameras and bullet resistant vests at the time of the shootings, officials said.

“We’ll wait and see what that reveals,” Strain said of the bodycam video.

Moak was on the job since 2015 and was recently promoted to corporal, Collins said. White returned to the department in 2015 after an earlier stint there.

“These were two awesome people who lost their lives this morning in the line of duty,” Collins said.

“Under fire, they did their job. I’m proud of both of them. I want to tell their families: Two heroes lost their lives this morning. They’re in the presence of Jesus right now.”

Brookhaven police Chief Kenneth Collins at a news conference announcing the deaths
WLBT
Brookhaven police Chief Kenneth Collins at a news conference announcing the deaths

Strain said some people were questioned as part of the ongoing investigation and no charges have been fired.

Gov. Phil Bryant said via Twitter: “Let us all pray just now for the family and loved ones of these fallen heroes. May the Good Lord hold them in his everlasting arms.”

In May 2017, Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy William Durr, 36, a former Brookhaven police officer, was fatally shot in southern Mississippi, authorities said.

The deputy was among eight people – including two boys – shot and killed at various locations by Willie Godbolt, 35, who was charged with one count of capital murder and seven counts of first-degree murder, according to police.