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Mississippi Man Shot After Reporting Cross Burning in Yard

By Emily Wagster Pettus 

JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi sheriff says a man was beaten and shot two weeks after calling authorities to report a cross burning in his yard, and investigators are trying to determine whether the attack was prompted by people being upset that the man was visited by his mixed-race grandchildren.

Deputies were called to a disturbance in a rural community outside Raleigh. Craig Wilson, 45, had been shot in the stomach and beaten and was taken to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, said Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton.

Investigators heard numerous reports from relatives about what might have started a confrontation between Wilson and 37-year-old Jeff Daniels, Crumpton said. Among other things, the sheriff said investigators were checking whether it might have been connected to people being upset about visits from Wilson’s mixed-race grandchildren. The children’s mother — Craig Wilson’s daughter — is white, and their father is black, the sheriff said.

Crumpton said Daniels was arrested and booked with aggravated assault. He was released on $20,000 bond.

Wilson and Daniels are both white. The victim is the boyfriend of the arrested man’s mother, Crumpton said.

Crumpton said he doesn’t know whether there’s a connection between the cross burning and the shooting. He said Wilson called the sheriff’s department and investigators went to see the burned cross, but Wilson didn’t press charges.

The cross burning and the shooting and beating took place in the Cohay community of Smith County, about 45 miles southeast of Jackson, where Wilson and Daniels are neighbors, the sheriff said.

Crumpton said a case against Daniels could be presented to the grand jury, probably in October.

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