An Excelsior Springs woman was mortally wounded Thursday in Mississippi in what authorities described as a “senseless act.”
Kristy Lynn Mitchell, 49, was walking to dinner with co-workers in Ridgeland, Miss., about 6 p.m. when a gunman drove up and fired a shot that ripped through her left abdominal area, said Ridgeland Police Chief John Neal.
Zebulum Lael James, 22, Jackson, Miss., was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Suzanne Hogan, 48, of New York. That shooting occurred earlier in Jackson, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reported.
James also faces an aggravated assault charge, levied because the vehicle he allegedly was driving struck a pedestrian.
Authorities said the shootings were not related and appeared to be random. Investigators have not determined what prompted them. The killing of Mitchell remains under investigation.
Mitchell, who worked for Job Corps, had recently been promoted to a position in the purchasing department. She had traveled to Jackson earlier this week for a training conference, Neal said.
Mitchell and other co-workers were staying at a Drury Inn and were walking next door to have dinner at Logan’s Steakhouse. Mitchell was walking slightly ahead of the others when a vehicle pulled up alongside her. The driver brandished a handgun through a window and opened fire.
The driver sped away as restaurant workers raced outside and gave first aid to Mitchell, who was sprawled in the parking lot. Co-workers also ran over to help.
Emergency crews arrived and rushed Mitchell to a hospital. She was able to describe the shooter to police.
Mitchell died several hours after undergoing surgery, Neal said.
“It was a senseless act,” Neal said. “We can’t make sense of this one.”
Mitchell, who was married and had a son and daughter, was scheduled to return home Friday.
Relatives described Mitchell as a loving, selfless and caring mother who was helping raise two of her four grandchildren, her mother, Sheena Franklin, said Friday.
Mitchell had been a safety officer with Job Corps. She began working there in 2003.
“She was a good woman, and she lived a good life,” Franklin said.