Family of shot Clarksdale officer: 'He's a fighter'

Clarksdale robbery victim speaks about officer shooting
Corporal Derrick Couch (Source: Clarksdale Police Department)
Corporal Derrick Couch (Source: Clarksdale Police Department)
(Source: MHP)
(Source: MHP)

CLARKSDALE, MS (WMC) - Clarksdale police have two people in custody in connection to the shooting of Corporal Derrick Couch.

According to Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett, a 19-year-old suspect's father turned in him around 1 p.m. Sunday. Luckett said this is the suspect that shot officer Couch.

Luckett confirmed the second robbery suspect was taken into custody at approximately 4:15 p.m.

Couch was shot in the head Saturday while investigating a robbery. He was taken to Regional Medical Center in critical condition. As of last check, he is still in very critical condition.

Couch has been an officer with the Clarksdale Police Department since December 2011.

Couch has been a part of the Special Operations, Community Police and Patrol divisions of the Clarksdale Police Department.

Couch worked for the Tunica County Sheriff's Department before working for the CPD.

The Clarksdale Police Department and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are investigating a robbery connected to the shooting.

Police sent surveillance footage of the suspects. One of the men had a gun and was seen limping out of the store.

Luckett said Couch saw the two men in the area of the robbery and turned his car around. When he got out, he was shot in the eye.

Luckett said Couch has undergone two surgeries and had his eye removed. He said the bullet is lodged inside Couch's head. Luckett asked for prayers for his survival.

"We can't get the bullet out of his head--not a good thing," Luckett said. "He's on a ventilator I'm told, too. It doesn't look good to me. That's why I used that word earlier, a miracle. That's what we need."

Couch's family said he is a fighter and they are praying he pulls through. They said Couch loved to serve and protect his community and he was injured doing what he loved.

"I can't fault him for doing what he loved," Couch's father Alozo Hardiman said.

Couch's aunt Verneice Hunter said she is not surprised that he was working to protect the Clarksdale community.

"He looks like he's sleeping," she said. "He's fighting. He's a tough guy. He's like his dad."

"He's doing as good as can be expected," Hardiman said. "I mean, it's a day to day right now. It's touch and go. We are praying for him and God knows best."

Couch is a father of five and a minister in Tunica. He even calls his Aunt every day to read scriptures.

"We love my dad," Couch's son Kederrious Couch said. "We're family."

Couch's family includes multiple law enforcement agencies. Couch used to work for the Tunica County Sheriff's Office.

"We actually feel sorry for the guys that did it," Hardiman said. "The violence has got to stop somewhere."

"We need to bring the community together," Couch's godfather Marvin Johnson said. "This entire country needs to come together and take a stand. This is senseless."

For now, family members are praying that Couch survives.

"We are holding up. We are a unit. We are going to make it."

An employee, Margaret Terney, said her brother-in-law owns the convenience store where the robbery happened.

Terney said the only employees who were at the store at the time of the robbery was her and one other employee. Terney said a gun was put to her head during the robbery.

"Two men, two black men came in with masks on with guns and threatened our lives," Terney said. "I'm just really nervous and terrified. I can't hardly breathe right now. My husband and son, I'm kind of worried about them. Even with all the policeman there, I'm just really scared."

She said someone tried to rob her store, located right across the street from the police station, two times before.

"It's a nice town. We just have a few problems right now. I'm just really shook up."

Officers from several law enforcement agencies have passed through the doors at Regional One to visit Corporal Couch and show support for him and his family, including Memphis Interim Police Director Michael Rallings.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, to the Clarksdale Police Department. You know there are a lot of folks hurting," Rallings said.

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