Domestic disturbance turns to suicide

Published 11:02 pm Monday, April 20, 2009

A Picayune man allegedly killed himself on Sunday after assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

At about 5:40 a.m. Sunday, the Picayune Police Department received a call concerning a domestic disturbance involving a handgun, said Police Chief Jim Luke.

The resident of the apartment, at 100 Beechwood Dr., a public housing apartment building, told responding officers and investigators that as she slept on her couch she heard the sound of someone entering her home as the person unlocked the door. She awoke to find Richard Lee Gray, 28, of 1219 Pinewood Dr., standing over her pointing a gun at her.

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An altercation ensued and she ran to her bedroom. At that time Gray is reported to have fired the gun at her. The victim told officers that she noticed Gray’s gun, a semi-automatic, did not have a magazine, so he had to manually load each round into gun’s chamber. When she saw him go to reload the gun, she ran from the bedroom toward the front door, Luke said. He caught her and the two fought again during which fight the victim’s hair was pulled and she suffered a bite to the left arm. However, the she broke free from Gray and escaped and called the police.

When officers arrived at the scene they found the door to the apartment had locked. A call was made to the public housing department to gain entry to the apartment, and at 6:25 a.m. the key arrived. Officers entered the apartment and conducted a safety sweep and found Gray slumped over on the sofa on his left side. At Gray’s feet was a stainless steel .380-caliber, semi-automatic Cobra pistol, Luke said. The police chief said Gray had a gunshot wound to the right side of his head.

A shell casing was lodged in the gun’s receiver and another shell casing was found in the apartment, which was believed to have been from the cartridge Gray allegedly fired at the victim. In the bedroom officers found a box with a bullet hole, confirming the victim’s statement that she was shot at, Luke said.

Medical personnel and Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage were called to the scene. Turnage said a preliminary autopsy report states Gray died as a result of a gunshot wound.

Investigation showed that Gray and the victim had a prior, two-year romantic relationship.

A suicide note was found in the apartment that indicated Gray intended to shoot himself, said Det. Jeremy Magri.

Turnage said that at this point in time, it appears Gray’s cause of death was suicide.