June 9, 2021

2 Copiah County men dead in apparent murder-suicide

Therese Apel

Two men are dead in Copiah County after what authorities describe as a chaotic scene.

Chief Byron Swilley said the incident appeared to be a murder suicide.

Deputy Coroner Ricky Akin said 48-year-old Christopher Byther was shot multiple times before it appears 24-year-old Darren Virgil turned the gun on himself.

According to Swilley, a deputy arrived on the scene after Byther had been killed. He was interviewing witnesses when Virgil came back to the scene and began to approach him.

As Virgil approached, Swilley said he pulled a weapon on the deputy. Both men fired their guns, Swilley said. Authorities don’t believe the deputy actually hit Virgil, who then turned his gun on himself. Swilley said there were several witnesses to that, and there is body cam footage as well.

“The autopsy will reveal what happened,” he said.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate, which is routine when an officer is involved in a shooting.

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