Published: Sat, September 10, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Council hands control of police over to sheriff

The Bay St. Louis City Council is holding an emergency meeting tonight at 6 p.m.

Jason Denham, the resident agent in charge for the Gulfport field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, says the agency received the allegations only a day or two before Bay St. Louis Police Chief Mike DeNardo's death.

"Due to recent events, the Hancock County Sheriff's Office will be assuming control of management and day-to-day operations of the Bay St. Louis Police Department on a temporary basis until a new chief is selected", said Councilman Doug Seal.

A MS police chief who had just been suspended shot and killed himself in the police department's parking lot, officials said, in what was described as "a bad day for law enforcement".

Bay Police Chief Mike De Nardo was being relieved of his duties before he fatally shot himself in the chest Thursday, Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said.

"Our initial finding is a self-inflicted gunshot", he said.

Hancock Chief Deputy Don Bass confirmed that DeNardo shot himself and died Thursday afternoon.

DeNardo was informed of the investigation Thursday at city police headquarters, where he was suspended from his duties by city officials who were confiscating his equipment.

Both Adam and Fillingame said this is a dark day for their community. Specifics about the suspension weren't available.

"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.

A MS police chief reportedly put a gun to his own chest and squeezed the trigger right after being notified of his unpaid suspension Thursday.

DeNardo was under investigation by the Hancock County Sheriff's Office for a personnel issue, but his name was likely to be cleared of misconduct, The Associate Press reports.

Adam declined to comment on whether De Nardo's suspension was connected to an ongoing Sheriff's Office investigation into the city's handling of a Department of Justice forfeiture fund.

'At that time, it just kind of went bad, ' he said. He served as a patrol supervisor and S.W.A.T. commander for 18 years at the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana before taking a position as a patrolman at the Bay St. Louis Police Department in 2004.

"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. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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