Crime & SafetyU. S. News
Man Arrested, Charged With Capital Murder in Deputy Slaying
GULFPORT, MISS. — A Mississippi man accused of fatally shooting a sheriff’s deputy last month was arrested Tuesday and charged with capital murder.
Joseph Michael Rohrbacker, 30, was taken into custody without incident by special agents of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation in connection with the Feb. 1 shooting death of Lt. Michael Boutte, according to an agency statement.
Until he was taken into custody, Rohrbacker had been receiving treatment at a Louisiana hospital for wounds sustained in the shooting, officials said. He is being held at a detention center in Gulfport, Mississippi, near the state line with Louisiana.
Rohrbacker is accused of shooting Boutte as he tried to get out of his vehicle near a Hancock County home where authorities were responding to an attempted suicide call. Rohrbacker fired at a second responding deputy who returned fire and wounded him, Sheriff Ricky Adam said at the time.
Boutte was airlifted to a New Orleans hospital and later pronounced dead. He was an Air Force veteran who had been in law enforcement for eight years and had been “awarded the Life Saving Medal for saving a child’s life,” among other accomplishments, according to the sheriff’s department.
If convicted of the capital offense, which is automatically applied whenever a law enforcement officer is killed, Rohrbacker could face a maximum sentence of life without parole or death by lethal injection, the Sun Herald of Biloxi reported.
It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment for him.