A bank robbery, hostage situation and shoot-out with officers have left two people dead in the streets of Yazoo City.
What began as a bank robbery Wednesday led to bloodshed the following day after the robbery suspect took a female victim hostage, shooting and killing her after she attempted to escape. Following an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement officers and the suspect, he was also shot and killed inches away from the victim.
The hostage, Katrina Simpson, 36, was pronounced dead on the scene in a local car washing parking lot from gunshot wounds, according to Yazoo County Corner Ricky Shivers. The suspect, Timothy Grayson, 54, was also pronounced dead from gunshot wounds at the same scene.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations takes over all cases that involve officers. But local officers and deputies responded to the initial incident that has shocked the entire community.
The case began with Regions Bank on Main Street being robbed by a male suspect Wednesday around lunch time. No injuries were reported, but an undisclosed amount of money was stolen from the local bank. Investigators said the robber was positively identified as Grayson.
Terry Gann, chief investigator with the Yazoo County Sheriff’s Department, said when he arrived on the shooting scene, he immediately knew the deceased Grayson was the robbery suspect.
“I positively identified him the second I saw him,” Gann said. “It was like seeing one of my kids. You just know them, and there was no doubt it was him. He was wearing the same clothes he wore during the robbery. And we have witness statements confirming that he was flashing around a lot of money after the robbery.”
Grayson did not have a vehicle, and investigators believe that he asked someone for a ride to bank. That driver has been detained and questioned by investigators.
“He went back to a house, and we are still trying to determine if he stayed there overnight,” Gann said. “But he eventually took out walking and walked to Shady Lane Apartments.”
It was at Shady Lane Apartments when Simpson was approached by Grayson in the parking lot of the apartment complex.
“We are unsure if he knew her or if this was a random situation,” Gann said. “We are also unsure if he asked her for a ride and later turned on her or if he held her at gunpoint, demanding a ride.”
Holding her at hostage while driving, Simpson was able to text her family members, alerting them that she was being held at gunpoint. Those family members immediately notified law enforcement with a description of the vehicle. Another anonymous phone call was also made to local authorities stating that Grayson was seen in a vehicle, pointing a gun at Simpson’s head.
Police officers were able to locate the vehicle and attempted to pull it over. At that point, Simpson pulled into a parking lot of a car wash on Mound Street.
“She attempted to escape the vehicle when he shot her,” Gann said. “Gunfire was then exchanged between Grayson and law enforcement officers.”
Gann was in a meeting with Yazoo County Sheriff Jacob Sheriff when a courthouse clerk came into the office to tell them that shots were being fired near Broadway and Mound.
“I immediately jumped into my truck and called dispatch who advised me that officers were involved and shots were fired,” Gann said. “When I arrived on the scene and approached officers, guns were drawn towards the vehicle. There was a female on the ground, and I didn’t know if she was dead or not, but I knew that she needed medical attention as soon as possible.”
Approaching the vehicle, Gann said he saw Grayson in the back passenger seat.
“I knew he was dead,” Gann said. “Once we confirmed that, we removed the weapon from the vehicle. The gun was at his feet. We turned our attention to the female outside the vehicle, but unfortunately she was already deceased.”
Law enforcement remained on the scene, securing the area as a large number of onlookers gathered upon the tragic scene. MBI has taken over the investigation. But an ongoing local investigation continues with other possible accomplices involved in the bank robbery.