Home Merto Laquandia Cooley: Police officer responds to shooting incident to find son dead

Laquandia Cooley: Police officer responds to shooting incident to find son dead


A police officer made a heartbreaking discovery when she responded to a fatal shooting on Sunday, January 2, and realized the victim was her own son.

Officer Laquandia Cooley responded to reports of a shooting incident on Larkin Street early on Sunday morning. But she hadn’t an inkling that she was walking into her worst nightmare. Her son, 20-year-old Charles Stewart Jr, lay in the middle of the street, shot in the head. He had already succumbed to his wounds by the time his mother arrived on the scene.

“We initially responded to the call, not knowing when I made it over there, the person was going to be my son that was laying there,” Cooley told WLBT. “As we get out, I look and I was like, ‘This is my son, this is my son.’ So, I literally just go into a break down you know? Like, why? Who would do this to my son?” Cooley told the outlet. It was a sight she’ll never forget. “I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. I was seeing my own son laying there on the ground dead. It was pretty much a panic. It was just, it was too much,” she said.

Charles Stewart, the victim’s father, described him as a good person who easily got along with people and did not bother anyone. When he found out his son was killed, he couldn’t believe it. “It’s traumatizing for the whole family,” he told the outlet. “We’re just trying to cope day to day. Just trying to figure out why this happened and who could have done this.” Hazlehurst Police Chief Darian Murray reportedly said the case will be turned over to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation considering the victim was an officer’s family member. The police chief explained that there were no suspects at the time of publication, WJTV reported.

In related news, the shooting death of a New Mexico police officer’s two-year-old son at the family’s home in Rio Rancho last month has raised several unanswered questions.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Rio Rancho Police Department has released limited information on its probe into the tragedy. Meanwhile, city officials also declined to comment on the case or provide documents citing state child welfare law that requires them to keep Lincoln Harmon’s death confidential. Around 8.30 am on December 8, law enforcement responded to a 911 call from a residence in the Enchanted Hills neighborhood. Authorities issued a press release two days later saying the child of a Santa Fe police officer — a toddler — had succumbed to a gunshot wound.



The only publicly available document on the case is a search warrant affidavit filed in court the following week, which identifies the officer as 28-year-old Jonathan Harmon. It states that the 911 call was made by his wife, Courtney Harmon, who tells the dispatcher that her son had “fallen from a chair” and there was “blood everywhere.”

Meanwhile, Officer Harmon was allegedly performing CPR to try to revive the child. Investigators later recovered a shell casing and an empty gun holster in the kitchen of the home. The affidavit said that Courtney Harmon directed police to a handgun that had been placed in a kitchen cabinet. According to the paper, investigators seized multiple handguns, rifles, and ammunition from the Harmons’ home.

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