By MICHAEL WARDLAW
Starkville High School junior Devin Mitchell was shot and killed in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day at Ridgewood Apartments in West Point.
A Clay County 911 operator received a call reporting gunshots fired near the apartment complex at approximately 3 a.m. Sunday. Officers arrived at the scene and found Mitchell, 16, wounded by a gunshot. He was transported to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo and died as a result of his injuries.
The West Point Police Department arrested Tavaris F. Collins, 31, and charged him with murder. The incident is still under investigation, and no further details were released at press time.
Mitchell, a standout running back for the Yellowjackets, recently helped his teammates reach the Mississippi Class 5A title game after completing a perfect season during regional play.
His loss leaves the Starkville community saddened.
In a statement released by the school district, Interim Superintendent Beth Sewell called Mitchell a student of great promise.
“The Starkville School District is deeply saddened by Devin’s tragic death,” she said. “... His untimely death is a grievous loss to the Yellowjacket family. Our hearts go out to Devin’s family, friends and classmates. We ask that you remember them and the entire Starkville High School family in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”
While Devin Mitchell will be missed by his family and friends, SHS head football coach Jamie Mitchell said he feels the loss as well.
“I’m heartbroken. All I can think of is his mom and dad,” Jamie Mitchell said. “He is one of those kids that has been raised by great parents, and that’s about all I can think of right now — the loss they are feeling. I can’t even imagine what they are going through. Things like that just don’t seem to have any reason what so ever.
“He was fantastic,” Jamie Mitchell added. “He was always in the weight room first. He had a tremendous smile. He was a kid that would do anything in the world for you. He was one of our best team leaders. There are just no words good enough to tell you how good of a person he was.”