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Mississippi Pays Respects to Agent Fatally Shot in Iuka

Agent Lee Tart, photo: Facebook
Agent Lee Tart, photo: Facebook

Approximately 5:15 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19, Tishomingo County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic situation at a residence at 231 CR 201 that resulted in the death of the suspect and one officer and injured three more officers.

A man, his wife and their 10-year-old daughter were in the house when deputies arrived. The situation escalated to a stand-off when the man refused to comply with officers’ instructions to come out of the residence. The Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) troopers and agents from Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) responded at the request of the Tishomingo County Sheriff.

After nearly six hours and negotiations were exhausted, two combined tactical teams from MHP and MBN entered the home. Upon entry, shots were fired between the man and law enforcement officer and MBN Agent Lee Tartt and the male suspect were killed. Additionally, three state troopers who entered the home were wounded.

The suspect is identified as 45-year-old Charles Lee Lambert. The woman and 10-year-old girl were rescued safely. The high-powered rifle Lambert used was also recovered from inside the house.

MBI agents, Crime Scene technicians, members of the Criminal Reconstruction Unit, State Crime Lab forensic scientists and the State Medical Examiner are conducting an investigation of the incident.

Agent Lee Tartt, 44, a native of Grenada, Mississippi, was a 22 year law enforcement veteran and had been with MBN since 2000. Tartt leaves behind a wife, Debra, and two children.

The three other troopers were Bubba Holifield, a Laurel native, who lives in Rankin County; DeAndrea Dixon; Trea Staples, also from Laurel, and is recovering from surgery after being injured in the hip.

“I just want to say thank you so much for all of the calls, text, and prayer for me and my brothers,” Holifeild said in a public statement. “I realize the brotherhood of my brothers in blue more than ever now! I love you all, and am proud to call all of you my friends and family.”

All three officers are still recovering in the hospital and are in stable condition. Officers Dixon and Holifield met up in the hospital hours after fatal standoff.

Left to Right: Troopers DeAndrea Dixon and Bubba Holifield. Photo: MS Highway Patrol Troop C
Left to Right: Troopers DeAndrea Dixon and Bubba Holifield. Photo: MS Highway Patrol Troop C

On Saturday, Feb. 20, multiple law enforcement agencies escorted Agent Tart’s body while on the way to the Mississippi State Crime Lab. Hundreds of Mississippians lined the roads to show their respects as well. Gov. Phil Bryant even encouraged Mississippians to pray for Agent Tart’s family.

“Our men and women in law enforcement put themselves in harm’s way every hour of every shift. The death of Agent Lee Tartt is a tragic reminder that their willingness to serve can exact the highest price,” Gov. Bryant said. “Deborah and I ask all Mississippians to join us in praying for the family of Agent Tartt and the others that were injured. May God hold him in the hollow of His hand.”

MS HWY Patrol Troop C wrote, " Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop C wrote: "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me.' Isaiah 6:8"
MS HWY Patrol Troop C wrote, “
Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop C wrote:
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me.’ Isaiah 6:8”

Toshomingo County Sheriff, John Daughtery, sent out a public statement and reminded everyone of the dangers first responders face, and thanked all responders and asked for continued prayers:

“Saturday morning we got a stark reminder of the inherent dangers of a career in law enforcement. Tragically, a brother in blue was killed and three others were wounded. The names of the three wounded officers could have very easily ended up on their agency’s memorial monument in Jackson. Fortunately, all three have good prognoses and should recover.

I want to extend my gratitude to all the law enforcement agencies and officers who came to assist us as we dealt with this situation. Additionally, the other emergency responders, including the medical personnel and firefighters, were critical in the efforts to ensure these officers are able to protect the citizens of Tishomingo County and all of the State of Mississippi. We pray violence and death will spare us but reality tells us differently. If these emergency responders work together, as a team, the chances of a peaceful resolution to dangerous circumstances increases dramatically. I thank our emergency responders and the people of Tishomingo County.”

Emily Newton is a staff reporter for hottytoddy.com and the editor of Experience Oxford magazine. She can be reached at emily.newton@hottytoddy.com.

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