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Pawn shop workers 'feared for their safety' before shooting at mentally ill man, Gulfport cops say

Sun Herald - 12/6/2018

Dec. 05--GULFPORT -- A mentally ill man burglarized two vehicles in downtown Gulfport just before he was shot twice at a pawn shop, court documents say.

Six minutes after the burglaries on Nov. 19, Anthony Moody used a sledgehammer stolen from one of the vehicles to smash a glass case at a pawn shop and steal a gun, according to investigators' affidavits.

Workers at 24 Hour Cash & Pawn began shooting at him and police soon joined in. He was hospitalized with two gunshots wounds.

Investigators say the workers "feared for their safety," but one of the workers previously told the Sun Herald he saw Moody take the locked gun and start running before they fired at him.

Police and pawn shop workers have confirmed they fired shots at Moody, but no details have been released on who fired the shots that struck him.

In a matter of 10 minutes, the 28-year-old Gulfport man racked up five felony charges.

Moody has bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia, according to his attorney and family members. He was hospitalized until three days before the incident. The night before, his mother took him to a local hospital, which diagnosed him as stable and declined to admit him.

Court documents obtained by the Sun Herald on Wednesday contain Gulfport police investigators' affidavits that allege what happened on Nov. 19.


* 4:11 p.m.: Moody stole a sledgehammer from a 2003 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck parked at 2407 19th St., near the intersection of U.S. 49. Police viewed video the next day and said Anthony Moody was seen near the truck.

* 4:15 p.m.: Moody burglarized a 2003 Mazda Tribute parked at 2412 19th St., just east of 35th Avenue. The car was unlocked, and he rummaged through it until the woman who owns it saw him and yelled at him, and he fled.

* 4:21 p.m.: Moody entered 24-Hour Quick Cash & Pawn, 2022 25th Ave., at the corner of 21st Street, with a sledgehammer. He walked to a glass display case, shattered the glass with the hammer and took a Smith & Wesson handgun.

'Fear for their safety'

The documents do not contain any details of the shooting, which is being investigated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

But one affidavit says Moody put a man and woman who were working at the pawn shop "in fear of immediate injury by the exhibition of a hammer, a deadly weapon."

"Moody's actions placed employees in fear for their safety," another document says.

A pawn shop worker, who only gave his first name of John, previously told the Sun Herald that he didn't think anything about the man coming in with a sledgehammer because the shop buys tools.

John said he followed the man to the TV section. "But we didn't make it that far back. He stopped immediately at the guns and smashed a glass cabinet with the sledgehammer and grabbed a gun and started running.

"We let off about four rounds and then we heard about three more rounds coming back to us," John said.

"I assumed he was shooting back at us."

John said he hadn't been worried about the man firing at them with the stolen gun. "The gun had a gun lock on it," he said.

On probation

Later that evening, a detective interviewed the Mazda owner, viewed video surveillance, and recognized Moody based on the owner's description.

Police took Moody to the Harrison County jail on Nov. 24 after his discharge from a hospital.

He is being held on bonds that total $175,000 on five felonies: two counts each of armed robbery and auto burglary and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

Moody isn't eligible to post bail, and he's being held for the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He was on probation for a drive-by shooting involving three victims in 2008. His attorney, Michael Crosby, said his only crime was giving a ride to someone he didn't know was involved in the shooting.

Moody also was convicted of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute on March 5, 2015, court papers say.

Out of character

Moody's relatives have said what police accuse him of doing is out of character for him, even when he's unstable.

Moody had been hospitalized for mental health treatment for two weeks and was allowed to return home Nov. 16, three days before the alleged crime spree, according to Crosby and Moody's relatives.

Glenda Moody, his mother, has told the Sun Herald she took him to a hospital for mental help the night before the shooting, but said the hospital diagnosed him as stable and declined to admit him.

A preliminary hearing before a Justice Court judge is pending.

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews


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