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2 Mississippi Cops, Suspect Killed

May 7, 1998

LONG BEACH, Miss. (AP) _ Clinton Byrd drove up to his girlfriend’s house with claims of undying love on his lips. But something else was on his mind.

``He came to die,″ said Jo Ann King, whose 17-year-old daughter, Tiffany, had dated Byrd for four years. ``I guess he was going to kill her and let the police kill him.″

Instead, the 21-year-old security guard killed two police officers and wounded a third before he was killed by an off-duty lawman who lived in the neighborhood.

``This doesn’t surprise me. I knew something was going to happen,″ said Michael Coates, the stepfather of Byrd’s girlfriend. ``It was a relationship that was over, a lovesick person who was not going to give up.″

Byrd followed Miss King home Wednesday morning. He was wearing black fatigues and a bulletproof vest and carrying weapons including an AR-15 assault rifle. Byrd grabbed Miss King, slapped a handcuff onto her arm and dragged her into the house where he intended to handcuff her to a post, Mrs. King said.

Mrs. King heard her daughter screaming, ran to the door and bit Byrd on the arm until he released the girl.

The women ran from the house while a neighbor dialed 911. When the police arrived, Byrd was waiting on the lawn and opened fire.

Killed were Steven Morgan, 38, who joined the police force in this quiet Gulf Coast town in 1992, and James Northcutt, 53, a career officer.

The third officer was treated for minor injuries.

Tracy Alfonso, who lives two doors down, said Byrd stood in front of the King house in the neat neighborhood of new homes several months ago and threatened to shoot himself. Officers talked him out of it and disarmed him.

``I hate to say it, but it would have been better if he had done it,″ Alfonso said.

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