Waveland officer cleared in shooting death
By Dwayne Bremer
Feb 5, 2013, 19:07
The Hancock County Grand Jury has cleared Waveland Police officer Matthew Sekinger of any wrong-doing in connection with the fatal shooting of an Alabama fugitive last March.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Burrell said Tuesday that the grand jury recently found no criminal activity involved in the case.
The grand jury's ruling means there will be no criminal charges against Sekinger.
It does not preclude any potential civil actions.
"This was a very unfortunate incident, but I think the grand jury made the right decision," Waveland Police Chief Kenny Hurt said Tuesday. "It came down to the suspect or the officer's life and my officer did what he had to do. It was a pretty cut-and-dry case."
Sekinger, a 15-year law enforcement veteran, was on patrol on the morning of March 31, 2012, when he and Officer Zenas Cappie responded to a suspicious-person report at the Travel Express Inn on Highway 90.
The suspect, Clifford Marsh, 31, of Brundidge, Ala. then apparently led officers on a foot pursuit to the parking lot of Rex Auto.
In the parking lot, officials said, Marsh stopped and pulled out a gun and pointed it at Sekinger, who then shot and killed Marsh.
Marsh had written a note prior to the shooting that "he was not going to be taken alive," Hurt said.
Marsh was wanted by Alabama authorities for allegedly violating house arrest. His girlfriend, Jessica Walding, 31, was also at the scene and was arrested for possession of stolen property.
The charges against her were later dropped.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was called to investigate the shooting since it involved a police officer.
Sekinger was originally placed on administrative leave with pay and was later cleared to resume patrol duties.
In October 2012, he was promoted to criminal investigator.
MBI completed its investigation and presented the case to the grand jury as a "matter of concern," which is common in officer-related shootings.
Sekinger said Tuesday that he is "relieved" the case is finally over and he expressed his sympathies to Marsh's family.
Hurt said WPD has stood behind Sekinger from the beginning and the incident shows just how dangerous police work can be.
"It's terrible when someone has to shoot someone in the line of duty," Hurt said. "The officer and the family are the ones who have to live with it for the rest of their lives."