Pontotoc Police Chief Randy Tutor reported today (Friday, Sept. 11) that a 23-year-old Tupelo man has been arrested and charged in connection with shooting at another person during an argument which occurred at a basketball game at Howard Stafford Park in Pontotoc on Sunday, Sept. 6.
Chief Tutor said that Tharius McArthur Conley, of Poplarville Street, Tupelo, has been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly firing seven pistol shots during an altercation with another man.
Chief Tutor said that the shots were fired around 6:38 p.m. that night at the park’s basketball court where a large crowd of participants and onlookers had gathered for the Labor Day weekend.
The shooting was the culmination of a weeklong argument between Conley and another man, he said.
Pontotoc Police officers arrived at the scene within five minutes of the 911 shooting call, but the suspect had already left the park, Chief Tutor reported.
“Statements taken by our officers from several witnesses right after the shooting were that the shots were fired into the ground, but a subsequent full investigation found that was not the case,” Chief Tutor said. “Our further investigation based on evidence collected at the scene found that some of the rounds were actually shot in the direction of people involved in the argument.”
“During the investigation Mr. Conley was identified as the shooter and at 6 p.m on Wednesday (Sept. 9) Tupelo Police Department arrested Conley at his Tupelo home and he was transported to Pontotoc.”
Chief Tutor said that the bullets could have easily struck other park visitors.
“Thank the Lord that no one was struck by any of the bullets,” Tutor said. “There were lots of activities going up just up the hill, including campers, a kid’s playground and a large gathering at a pavilion. It could have been a tragedy.”
Tutor said that on Friday afternoon Pontotoc Municipal Judge Brad Cornelison set Conley’s bond at $200,000.