Earlier this week the Laurel Police Department Officers responded to a report of a man with a gun outside of Laurel High School. Officers worked with School Resource Officers to ensure the safety of the school.
30 year-old Erich M. Taylor was taken into custody across from the school but did not possess a weapon at that time. During the subsequent investigation LPD Investigators located a weapon inside the suspect’s home that appeared to have been altered. They are currently in communication with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in reference to that weapon.
During the investigation LPD learned that the students who initially spotted the suspect were inside the school at the time and the suspect did not have a weapon on school property this week. The miscommunication appeared to have come from the suspect’s prior arrest and misinformation spread through social media.
They would like to note that the prior arrest occurred at 2:00 in the morning when no students were present and the subject was charged at that time.
Captain Tommy Cox with the Laurel Police Department stated that the students were familiar with the suspect’s face after his picture was posted around town and at the school following his initial arrest. A student then called someone letting them know that the man was back on campus, but the student never told that person that the suspect had a weapon. After word got around, the miscommunication that the suspect had a weapon started.
The suspect is still in custody at this time and being held on a mental health hold. LPD is working through the CIT program, Pine Belt and the Mississippi Crisis Intervention Response Team in order to help resolve the current situation as well as prevent further problems. As always, LPD continues to work closely with the Laurel School District and their Resource Officers to ensure the safety of all students.
Any persons with information about this or any other case are encouraged to call LPD at 601-399-4440 or Crime Stoppers at 601-428-STOP.