BAY ST. LOUIS, MISSISSIPPI – As the city mourns the sudden death of its police chief, officials held an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon to decide who will temporarily lead the department.
The meeting was held at City Hall just hours after the death of Chief Mike DeNardo.
Police said DeNardo shot himself in the chest shortly after leaving police headquarters. The mayor added he was set to put DeNardo on indefinite suspension per the sheriff's advice. Authorities said Chief DeNardo turned in his city-issued belongings, walked into the parking lot, and pulled the trigger.
"There was some evidence presented that caused us, at the request of the sheriff's department, to suspend Mike for the term of the investigation,” said Mayor Les Fillingame. “But we really felt like, from the initial conversation with Mike, that (the issue) would be resolved."
Bay St. Louis city leaders voted to temporarily turn the department's power over to the Hancock County Sheriff's Office. Capt. Wes Mayley will serve as the interim police chief.
"As these officers who are grieving now come back, we'll just integrate them back into their regular jobs,” said Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam. “We'll oversee the management of it and how they do their job."
DeNardo had been chief since 2010 according to the department's website. Those who loved him said he was a great man who was dedicated to his job.
"We're all reeling at the thought of what's happened and just really, hoping that we get some answers that'll give us a little comfort, " said Mayor Fillingame.
Fillingame added the issue surrounding the chief was more of a personal issue than professional.
Sheriff Adam also said their office turned over their materials to the FBI two weeks ago.
(© 2016 WWL)