Officials cancel last day of Mississippi Mudbug Festival after deadly shooting

State officials Sunday announced the cancelation of the the last day of the three-day Mississippi Mudbug Festival following a deadly shooting Saturday night.

Despite the presence of multiple law enforcement agencies for extra security, at least two people initially opened fire in the middle of the state fairgrounds in Jackson, resulting in one dead and five injured, authorities said.

A responding officer also fired his weapon, possibly resulting in the night’s one fatality because, Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones said, the person may have been involved in the gunfire or whatever led up to it.

One person was killed and five people were wounded after at least three people, including a responding officer, opened fire at a Mississippi festival Saturday night, the Hinds County sheriff said.

Gunfire erupted just before 10 p.m. at the Mississippi Mudbug Festival at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson, Sheriff Tyree Jones said at a late-night news conference.

Three of the wounded people were stabilized at a hospital, he said. The condition of the others were not available, but Jones said the survivors also “appear to be stable.”

“Other victims appear to be stable at this time and don’t appear to be directly involved in the shooting or circumstances that led to the shooting,” he tweeted overnight.

An officer also fired his weapon, Jones said, possibly striking and killing a person who may have been “actively involved” in the violence, Jones said at a late-night press conference Saturday.

The officer’s identity and agency have not been released. He was not physically injured, Jones said.

Two people, described as juveniles, were detained for questioning, although the sheriff said he believes they have knowledge of what happened or were allegedly involved.

Authorities said late Saturday that four survivors had been injured by gunfire, but that number was revised upward overnight by Jones.

The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce said it planned for ample security at its annual Mudbug festival, which celebrates the peak of crawfish season, features concessions called “Tails and Ales,” and draws large crowds for major music acts and fairground rides.

“Safety is a priority at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds,” state agriculture and commerce commissioner Andy Gipson said in a statement Sunday. “I appreciate the rapid response from the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office and the Jackson Police Department. Their quick action in securing the scene prevented others from potentially being hurt.”

After gunfire erupted Saturday agriculture officials promptly shut the party down for the evening. They announced cancelation of Sunday’s festivities to the news media shortly before 8 a.m.

The state-owned, 105-acre fairgrounds include seating for 6,500 and room for an additional 3,500 at music performances at its festival-style stage.

Top-billed act Blue Oyster Cult was scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, about two hours before shots rang out. The entertainment for the festival, which started Wednesday, was scheduled to wrap up by 11.

Before the festival was canceled, Grammy Award-winning blues artist Bobby Rush’s 3 p.m. show was slated as Sunday’s main musical draw.

Jones said there was an exchange of gunfire and that two rifles, one handgun and various sizes of shell casings were recovered when the dust settled. Authorities also seized a vehicle that might have been involved in the violence, he said.

Rounds may have sprayed a crowded area of the fairgrounds, prompting investigators to check overnight for victims who might have taken themselves to hospitals, the sheriff said.

Jones said the violence was especially heinous because children were probably present.

“This was to be considered a family oriented event,” he said late Saturday.

A motive for the shooting was not known and the investigation was ongoing.

Alex Lo and Joe Studley contributed.

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