“We’re going to die together” Man shares near death encounter with shooting spree suspect
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - “We’re going to die together.”
That’s what murder suspect Jeremy Reynolds told an employee at Brothers Food Mart when he walked into the store Wednesday. By that time, police say Reynolds had already shot and killed three people in Biloxi and another in Gulfport.
“He just pulled a gun and tried to stop me and all that crazy stuff,” Hashed “Mike” Almaklni recalled. “And he’s like, “I killed people already, so we’re gonna die together today.”
Almaklni and his cousin were minding the store when Reynolds burst in. He says they struggled with the gunman for about ten minutes.
“I was trying to save my life, though. Save my life the best way I can.”
Signs of that struggle could be seen all over the store Thursday.
“My cousin was asleep back there. And I was fighting with him [Reynolds], and he was holding my neck. But he [the cousin] came from the other side and helped me a lot. He got a punch in from the back and let me go.”
When Reynolds barricaded himself in a back room, Almaklni and his cousin escaped. Police eventually fired tear gas into the room in an effort to get the murder suspect out without the use of deadly force. Standing inside the store one day later, the smell of tear gas still hung in the air.
But Reynolds never came out. Once the haze cleared, officers entered the store and found their suspect dead. An autopsy will determine exactly how he died. The coroner said there were no obvious wounds on his body. But Reynolds did set a fire in the room, so smoke inhalation is a possibility. No shots were fired by officers during the standoff.
Reynolds is accused of killing four people in Biloxi and Gulfport Wednesday. Three victims were shot to death at the Broadway Inn in Biloxi: 51-yar-old Mohammad Moeini, owner of the hotel; 61-year-old Laura Lehman, an employee and resident of the hotel; and 55-year-old Chad Green, who also lived and worked at the motel.
Police believe Reynolds then left the hotel and carjacked and assaulted another victim in Gulfport near Rio Grande Street. William Waltman, 52, of Diamondhead was a public works staffer contracted by the City of Gulfport. He was shot and taken to the hospital, but later died in surgery.
It was after this confrontation with Waltman that police say Reynolds arrived at Brothers Food Mart. Those who frequent the store were shocked to learn something like this happened so close to home. We’re told this was the first and only time they’ve had any trouble at the store.
Almaklni spent Thursday morning getting hugs, good vibes, and words of support from friends, family, and long-time customers like Destiny Forgione.
“It definitely hit home. The moment we found out they were ok, it was a huge sigh of relief,” Forgione remembered.
Almaklni says he’s still tired and sore from Wednesday’s incident, but happy to be alive.
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