Indianola police were kept busy with two separate incidents on Thursday night, one of which was apparently the city's third murder of 2021.
The first incident one resulted in the death of 52-year-old Thomas Lyons.
According to police investigator Irish Johnson, Lyons’ wife found him deceased just off U.S. Highway 82, in the white Chevy van that he was driving. Johnson said he got the call at around 10:30 p.m.
Johnson said Lyons had reportedly been traveling east on his way home after leaving a family member’s home on Beaverdam Road. He said the particulars of what happened are “still up in the air,” but Lyons’ wife who was apparently at one point traveling behind his vehicle, lost sight of him only to spot the van a few minutes later near Weathersby Road.
Johnson said preliminary indications are that Lyons was shot once in the left side; however the incident is still under investigation. He said they are actively questioning people who may be able to provide additional information or could have possibly seen what happened.
In a separate and unrelated incident, Johnson said Richard O'Neal Jr, 29, was arrested and is being charged with aggravated assault and convicted felon in possession of a weapon after he allegedly fired five rounds into an occupied vehicle on Front Avenue directly in front of Turner’s Downtown Market.
He said he received the call at around 12:27 a.m., while they were still on the scene of the incident on U.S. Highway 82.
Johnson said based on the preliminary review of the video footage, the unnamed victim got out of his truck, went to the soda machine in front of Turner's and that’s when O'Neal allegedly pulled alongside and got out of his vehicle as well.
After a brief encounter, where the men apparently exchanged words, the victim return to his vehicle in an attempt to leave and that's when O'Neal reportedly fired the shots.
The man was not hit by either of the bullets; O'Neal was subsequently caught and booked into the South Sunflower County jail. Johnson said the incident was apparently due to an earlier verbal altercation between the men: however, the man said he did not know why O’Neal fired on him. This incident is also still under investigation.