Baby held underwater is improving

Published 7:29 pm Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Doctors say the condition of a baby, who was allegedly held underwater by her father before a deputy shot and killed the man, is improving.

The 3-week-old child was pulled from a pond two weeks ago by Lincoln County emergency workers. A deputy who responded to the scene April 21 fatally shot Curtney Levorce Gayten while the man allegedly held the baby underwater.

The child’s condition has been upgraded to stable at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

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The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is still investigating that shooting, Chief Deputy Johnny Hall said Tuesday. No further details of the case have been released.

Authorities say Gayten, a Bogue Chitto man, was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting near Brookhaven by Lincoln County Corner Clay McMorris.

The child was initially taken to King’s Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven and later transferred to the UMC. The child’s name was not released.

Sheriff Steve Rushing has said his office received a call about 11:23 a.m. the day of the shooting with a complaint that a man with a gun was holding a child in the pond.

The callers said that Gayten was standing in waist-deep water and allegedly dunking the child in the water.

When the deputy arrived, Rushing said, he did not see the child, because Gayten was allegedly holding the child under water.

During the confrontation with Gayten, Rushing has said, events escalated and the deputy shot Gayten. Rushing said deputies went into the pond to get Gayten, the child and the gun that Gayten was holding.

Rushing said deputies performed CPR on the child until an ambulance arrived.