Marquez Griffin: Mississippi man, 25, shoots dead two children, aged 1 and 9, in hostage situation

Marquez Griffin: Mississippi man, 25, shoots dead two children, aged 1 and 9, in hostage situation
Marquez Griffin was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of aggravated assault for the deaths of two kids (Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office)

JONESTOWN, MISSISSIPPI: A 25-year-old man was taken into custody after allegedly shooting and killing two young children and holding a third child at gunpoint. Marquez Griffin was arrested on Monday, January 9, following a deadly standoff with sheriff’s deputies and later charged with two counts of murder after he killed two children, aged 1 and 9.

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He has also been charged with two counts of aggravated assault, police said. A press release from the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office noted how they received a 911 call at around 2 am on Monday reporting that a child had just been shot at the Summit Garden Apartments, located in the 300 block of Coldwater River Road in Jonestown.

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According to the release, an off-duty sheriff's deputy residing in Jonestown overheard the call for deputies over the radio and responded to the scene "immediately." Upon arrival, the off-duty cop met with several on-duty deputies, and the group made contact with the suspect shortly after. Responding deputies later revealed that Griffin was "holding a child at gunpoint" when they initially made contact with him, but they “were able to talk the subject into dropping his weapon and get the child to safety" before placing Griffin under arrest. After taking the suspect into custody, however, authorities searched the residence and discovered the bodies of the two young children, both of whom had sustained gunshot wounds before the cops arrived on the scene.

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One of the victims was pronounced dead on the scene while the other was rushed to a nearby hospital, where they were pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

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As reported by Memphis-based CBS affiliate WREG-TV, authorities did not release any information about the victims other than their ages. However, it later emerged that the one-year-old girl — identified by her family as Averi Jones — was the one pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital. Meanwhile, Griffin was taken to the Coahoma County Adult Detention Center where he is currently remanded in custody. Authorities said Griffin was originally from the Coahoma County area but had been living in the Arlington, Texas area for some time and had only recently moved back to Mississippi. That said, investigators are yet to release any information regarding a possible motive for the alleged killings.

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In a conversation with WREG, Averi’s grandmother, Melrose Haile, spoke about her tragic loss and offered additional details about the child's death. “All I know is my grandbaby Averi Jones is gone and I just want everyone to know that Averi Baby was a sweet baby. She didn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve this at all,” Haile told the station. “Her mom told me she was asleep and he put a pillow over her head and shot her in her head.” Furthermore, Haile revealed that Griffin was friends with Averi's mother and that there were several other children at the home at the time of the shooting. “She told me they were friends and how could a friend do this to you?” the heartbroken grandmother added, per Law&Crime.

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