Mistaken identity may have led to shooting death


TUTWILER — Police think that a case of mistaken identity may have led to the shooting and subsequent death of an elderly woman who was shot last week as she lay asleep in her bed.

Maggie Jefferson Wims, 77, died shortly before 6 Saturday afternoon at Regional One Health in Memphis, where she had been hospitalized in critical condition for two-and-a-half days.

Tallahatchie County Coroner Ginger Meriwether said Ms. Wims’ body was sent to the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory in Pearl for autopsy, after which she would be released to Tutwiler Funeral Home pending final arrangements.

The shooting occurred at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at the 301 Handy St. residence where Ms. Wims lived with her grandson, 35-year-old Shannon Geno Jefferson, according to Tutwiler Police Chief Marion Bedford.

He said the back of the house was sprayed with over a half-dozen bullets. Three of those hit Ms. Wims’ bedroom window, one striking her in the side of the neck, the chief explained. Other projectiles penetrated walls, he added.

Bedford noted that Jefferson was awakened by the shooting and heard his grandmother call out to him that she had been shot. He was not injured.

Jefferson dialed 911. Bedford said the call initially rang in to a radio dispatcher in Coahoma County, who then contacted a dispatcher at the Tallahatchie County Jail in Charleston. The message was finally relayed to the dispatcher at the former county jail facility in Sumner, Bedford added.

The chief said Ms. Wims was transported by Pafford ambulance to Northwest Mississippi Medical Center in Clarksdale, where she was treated and stabilized for transfer to Memphis.

She reportedly underwent surgery within hours after arriving at the Elvis Presley Trauma Center at Regional One Health.

Bedford said he recovered no casings, but some bullet fragments have been sent to the state crime lab for analysis.

On Tuesday, the chief said he had questioned one person of interest but the inquiry led to “a dead end.”

“I have a theory about what happened, but I have to keep it to myself for now,” Bedford noted.  “I don’t think Ms. Wims was the intended target. I think it was a case of mistaken residence.”

Ms. Wims and her grandson moved into the Handy Street house just last fall. It was the 45th structure dedicated by West Tallahatchie Habitat for Humanity.

In a news story, she expressed thanks for “the blessing of a home of my own.”

IN THE PHOTO: Maggie Wims and her grandson, Shannon Jefferson, are pictured in December 2019 at a Habitat for Humanity event.  (Photo special to The Sun-Sentinel)