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‘Senseless act.’ MS man shot at 2 military members, killed a passerby after pool game.

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

Luis Ruiz Soto Jr. said had “been drinking a lot” of alcohol and playing pool with a couple of military service members at a Jackson County bar when he got angry and pulled out a gun.

The service members left the bar after the gun came out, but Soto left too.

The 29-year-old welder from Gautier followed the two active-duty service members when they left in a Ford F-250, District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath said.

Not long after, Soto was in his vehicle when he grabbed his gun and fired shots into the pickup, injuring the two service members.

Traffic from a shift change at Ingalls Shipyard was heavy about 11:07 p.m. Jan. 25, 2018, when a 911 caller told police someone was shooting at their vehicle on Jerry St. Pé Highway, the access road to Ingalls.

After shooting at the truck, Soto turned and drove the wrong way on U.S. 90, where he shot and killed motorcyclist Leland Sumrall while he was stopped in Pascagoula.

Sumrall had not been to bar, but was on his way home from work.

On Tuesday, Soto pleaded guilty to one count second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of shooting into a dwelling in connection with the incident.

Soto told Judge Dale Harkey he fired 10 rounds from his .9-mm handgun, but said he didn’t know why.

The judge called what happened “a horrible, senseless act” before he sentenced Soto to a total of 85 years on all counts, with 40 years to serve day-for-day without the possibility of parole.

At the time of the incident, Pascagoula police described what had happened as a road rage incident.

On Tuesday, Sumrall’s family described the pain and anguish they continue to experience as a result of the loss of devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

“He liked his work and spent more than 40 years working in the shipyard building industry, where he was well thought of,” a relative said on behalf of Sumrall family.

After the shooting, the relative said, Sumrall’s friends and others gathered around him to offer him comfort.

The Sumrall family the judge to impose the maximum sentence for the crimes.


© 2020 The Sun Herald