Defendant Fatally Shot Outside Madison County, Mississippi, Courthouse

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By The Associated Press

CANTON, Miss. — A man fatally shot a defendant waiting in a small courtyard outside a criminal courthouse in Mississippi on Monday morning, the sheriff said.

A suspect has been arrested and is in custody in jail, Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker said. Tucker declined to identify the man arrested or the man shot.

Tucker and Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest say they do not know what the motive for the shooting was.

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.

The suspect fired one shot with a semiautomatic handgun, Tucker said. The man was shot once in the chest and died on the scene, Tucker said.

There was a heavy police presence at the courthouse, with 15 police vehicles at the red-brick criminal courthouse for Madison County in Canton. Some officers used metal detectors outside, sifting through pine needles. The courthouse is a couple of blocks north of Canton's main square and historical district.

Officials scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. CDT (12 pm. ET).

Canton is a city of 13,000 about 25 miles north of Jackson.