Pearl mayor: Police didn’t kill postal worker, Brandon Andrews did

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 12:55 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Pearl Mayor Jake Windham says his officers are not responsible for the death of a Jackson mailman Thursday, absolving his police force of any wrongdoing after chasing a suspect into Jackson for speeding.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the gentleman that passed away yesterday, the postman. I’m very saddened by that,” he said. “I also want to make sure that we place blame where blame needs to be placed – Brandon Andrews.”

The chase began when Pearl authorities attempted to pull over Andrews, 20, for speeding on Interstate 20. Andrews allegedly failed to pull over, and police chased him into Jackson.

Brandon Andrews, 20
Brandon Andrews, 20(Pearl Police Department)

The chase ended after Andrews crashed his Toyota Camry into a mail truck at Barbara Ann and Maria Drives.

A witness said Brad Pennington, 32, attempted to jump out of the truck as it was tipping over and hit his head on the concrete.

Pennington later died of his injuries at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, a release from the Pearl Police Department says.

A spokesperson for the Postal Service tells 3 on Your Side that Pennington had been delivering mail since 2015. He even received an award for preventing a house fire while on his route.

The Jackson Police Department did not participate in the chase, but the Pearl mayor said JPD was notified.

Windham, a former police officer himself, told reporters the officer involved in the pursuit followed policy by the book.

He said that officer was from Jackson and knew the streets better than the suspect.

“Our officers don’t like to pursue people. It’s scary. You got 100 miles an hour. Because of the fact that you’re trying to address a situation where somebody is violating the law,” he said. “They’re within state statute, and they’re within policy.”

Below is a statement by Mayor Jake Windham handed to press before Friday’s press conference began:

Pearl mayor speaks after police chase ends in death of Jackson postal worker
Pearl mayor speaks after police chase ends in death of Jackson postal worker(WLBT)

Windham released a written statement prior to the press conference. A majority of that statement is critical of Jackson and its mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, with Windham asking why criminals feel that Jackson is a “safe haven or a sanctuary city.”

“This is a hard topic, but, a lot of times, what we encounter from addressing criminals is [that they] feel like [if] they get to the city limits of Jackson, then they’re safe,” Windham said during the press conference.

Thursday night, Lumumba released a statement of his own regarding the chase and the subsequent death of Brad Pennington.

“I want to reiterate that police pursuit that enters our city from multiple jurisdictions does not make us safer,” Lumumba wrote. “There are often tragic outcomes like this one for minor traffic stops, and we have experienced it before.”

“We aren’t anti-pursuit,” Jackson’s top elected official added. “We are anti-pursuit for minor violations which often spill over into tragic consequences for our community.”

Pearl Police said in a statement hours after the incident that Andrews was chased after failing to pull over for a speeding violation along I-20.

At Friday’s press conference, Windham offered more details about the suspect’s criminal record, saying he was facing charges in multiple jurisdictions.

“I just wanted to make sure that I addressed the media today for the reasons... about yesterday’s incident from a different perspective,” he said.

Windham said that Andrews was currently out on felony bond and is a suspect in a capital murder in Jackson. He added that this was not, as Lumumba said, “a minor traffic stop.”

The mayor also said the suspect was out on felony bond from Flowood Police for possession with an intent to sell narcotics while in possession of a firearm, and for being in possession of a stolen firearm.

Additionally, he was charged in 2021 for armed robbery and shooting into a vehicle in Hinds County.

Officers said after the chase, they discovered a 30-round extended magazine in his car that he tried to hide behind an abandoned house.

He said police did not know Andrews’ criminal history while they chased him. However, he would say that if authorities let these criminals go, they will continue to commit crimes and victimize people. Some of the worst criminals, he said, are captured during traffic stops.

Andrews is currently being held at the Rankin County Jail. It was unclear when he would make his initial appearance.

“We need to be concentrating on these criminals instead of these police officers doing their job each and every day,” Windham said, “and, quite frankly, I’m sick of it.”

When the mayor was asked if his department felt responsible for the death of Pennington, Windham responded, “We didn’t kill their mailman, Brandon Andrews did... I do not think our police officers are responsible for that, not one bit.”

The mayor was also asked, again, why police chased Andrews into the City of Jackson. “They could have gotten a license plate number, there are other things that could have been done,” a reporter said.

He said the city is in the process of “ordering equipment to place on our vehicles to PIT people, so we won’t have as many pursuits.” According to the Department of Justice’s website, PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) maneuvers allow officers to come into contact with a fleeing vehicle, causing it to “abruptly turn... stall and stop.”

When asked if he had any words for Jackson residents upset with the department’s actions, he had one thing to say: “I’m gonna say zero homicides in Pearl, Mississippi, 157 in Jackson. That’s my answer.”

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