Bay St. Louis police chief, fired by mayor, dies after shooting himself

BAY ST. LOUIS, MIss. — The Bay St. Louis police chief committed suicide Thursday as he was being escorted off city property at the mayor's orders, officials said.

Chief Mike DeNardo was with two sheriff's deputies when there was a commotion, and he shot himself in the chest, Sheriff Ricky Adam said. DeNardo had just been relieved of his duties, Adam confirmed.

The self-inflicted shooting took place Thursday afternoon outside the police department, he said. Witnesses said DeNardo, 63, was taken from the scene by ambulance.

Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk confirmed the chief died at a local hospital.

“Right now we’re completely in shock at this tragic event and we don’t have the details we need to give us any comfort about what has happened yet,” said Mayor Les Fillingame. “We ask for prayers for the chief and his family.”

As to Adam’s statement that DeNardo was being relieved of his duties, Fillingame said, “That is not something that I would comment on right now.”


 

 

 

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has sent forensic teams to the scene and is assisting, according to MBI spokesman Warren Strain. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office continues to be the lead agency on the case, he said.

DeNardo was being escorted from the police department at the request of the mayor, Adam said. They were in the process of retrieving his city-issued property, including his keys and weapons, Adam said. He would not comment on whether the firing was connected to an investigation into missing DOJ forfeiture funds.

“All I’ve heard is that he had a self-inflicted wound and that he died as a result of it on the way to the hospital,” said State Rep. David Baria (D-Bay St. Louis), whose office is across the street from the police station. “It would be unfair to his family to speculate on anything beyond that at this point.”

Baria said he saw DeNardo Wednesday night and he appeared to be fine.

Both Adam and Fillingame said this is a dark day for their community.

“He was a friend of mine, and he’d help me any way he could, ever since I was sheriff,” Adam said.

DeNardo was a former longtime Marine, and had formerly commanded the SWAT team for the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Department.

He had been with the BSLPD since 2004, and had been chief since 2010.

Contributing: Clarion-Ledger Political Editor Geoff Pender. Follow Therese Apel on Twitter: @trex21

The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger


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