TUPELO • A Lee County youth accused of shooting a Verona man multiple times early Wednesday morning is facing murder charges as an adult.
Randy Johnson, 17, of 126 Elm Drive, Shannon, was charged with first degree murder. During his initial court appearance in justice court, he was ordered held without bond.
Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigator Drew Chisholm said Johnson was a student at Nettleton High School, enrolled in the virtual learning program.
Authorities were called to the North Mississippi Medical Center around 1 a.m., Oct. 21, for a man who had been shot multiple times. Arlandus Cortez Shack, 21, of 246 Mattox Road, Verona, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The shooting happened inside a car, and the same vehicle was used to carry the victim to the hospital. The car was seized and treated as a crime scene.
The witness who drove Shack to the hospital was initially vague about what happened, saying it happened somewhere between Verona and Shannon. Deputies canvassed the area and were able to determine the crime happened on County Road 590, also known as Experiment Station Road.
During a Thursday press conference, Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson offered a few new details.
“We know the incident happened while the car was traveling down the road,” Johnson said. “Some of the shots might have been from outside the car, based on where we found evidence.”
One person inside the car at the time of the shooting fled on foot. That individual was later detained, interviewed by investigators and released.
“There were more than just the shooter and the victim in the car,” Johnson said. “We believe confidently that we have the one responsible for this death.”
Officials also recovered the pistol believed to be the murder weapon. The sheriff said shell casings were recovered inside the car and on the side of the road. He would not specify where the gun was found, saying “we recovered the gun away from the crime scene.”
Officials do not anticipate charging anyone else in connection with Shack’s death, but they still have some unanswered questions.
“If anyone has any information to help us clear up a few areas, we ask them to call us,” Johnson said. “We always leave the door open. There are people out there who can still tell us where they left from, who else was in the car and where they went.”
During a Wednesday press release announcing the shooting, the sheriff said the victim was out on bond for a 2018 murder charge out of Verona and was awaiting trial. The following day he said Shack was never indicted for the crime.
District Attorney John Weddle said Shack was arrested by Verona police after one person said he was at the scene of the crime. By the time the case made it to the grand jury, that witness statement was refuted.