Two police officers are dead and a wounded suspect is in custody after a shootout early Saturday morning in a small Mississippi town.

Cpl. Zach Moak, 31, and Patrolman James White, 35, responded to a report of shots being fired about 5 a.m. The Mississippi Department of Public Safety said there was an exchange of gunfire between the officers and Marquis Aaron Flowers, 25.

The officers died at a hospital. Flowers, who has been convicted of burglary and has a history of leading officers on high-speed chases, is still hospitalized.

The deaths rocked Brookhaven, Miss., a town of about 12,000 people, where police often answer calls about gunshots but “nothing ever happens,” Police Chief Kenneth Collins said at a news conference Saturday.

“But this morning, something happened. We lost two of our brave officers. . . . You never know when it’s your last day,” a visibly distraught Collins told reporters.


Patrolman James White, left, and Cpl. Zach Moak. (Mississippi Department of Public Safety/Reuters) (HANDOUT/Reuters)

“I’m proud of them,” he said of his officers. “Two heroes lost their lives this morning.”

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is investigating, and authorities have not released any more details about how the officers died. Both were wearing body cameras, though investigators have not said what the footage would reveal.

Moak studied auto mechanics before he began working for the Brookhaven Police Department in 2015, the Clarion Ledger reported. A Facebook photo shared by the department shows Moak holding up a note he had written for a cousin’s son.

“Cohen, while you’re sleeping, I will always be watching over you,” the note says.

White had previously been with the police department and had left to work for a neighboring city. He returned to the Brookhaven Police Department in 2015.

“Our community is strong and will pull together as a family. Our deepest sympathies and prayers goes out to the families of the fallen officers,” Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox said.

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