- A Mississippi jury declined to indict deputies who broke into Trevor McKinley’s home and killed him.
- McKinley’s mother said she was “extremely disappointed” but not surprised by the decision.
- Five people died after interactions with the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department in 2021.
A Mississippi grand jury decided not to indict the sheriff’s deputies who broke into the home of a 28-year-old man and shot him dead in 2021.
Rankin County Sheriff’s Deputies shot and killed Trevor McKinley at his grandmother’s home in August 2021 after responding to a report of domestic unrest. Jason Dare, a sheriff’s department attorney, told Insider that in January a grand jury returned a “no bill” — meaning there was insufficient evidence to indict — in McKinley’s case.
McKinley’s mother, Jackie McKinley, told Insider that she was “very disappointed” by the decision but “not surprised” because “no one has ever been held accountable for their actions down here.”
Jackie McKinley said she was frustrated by authorities’ lack of communication with her family about the status of the investigation over the past two years.
She said she didn’t know her son’s case had even been closed when Insider reached out to her for comment.
“I am very disappointed and even more disappointed that it has taken almost two years and there is no information at all,” said Jackie McKinley. “I mean literally nothing.”
“It’s unfair and unjust, and families deserve to know, you know?” she continued. “I mean, we all know what the system is like, and especially in Rankin County. As sad as it is, it doesn’t surprise me.”
She said she spoke to Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey on the phone shortly after the shooting and that he was “very rude” and “hung up.”
The sheriff’s department did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Trevor’s relapse caused a fight with his fiancée
Trevor McKinley had a warrant out for his arrest when Rankin County Sheriff’s deputies were called to his home.
Trevor’s former fiancee, Ashton Durr, previously told Insider that the couple got into a fight on June 1, 2021 after she found a stash of pills and confronted Trevor – who had been sober for several years at the time – about a relapse . Durr said Trevor chased her through the house and hit her after the confrontation.
One of Durr’s friends told police about the fight, and deputies came to the house to question her, she said, but she refused to speak to them.
Durr said Trevor checked himself into rehab and stayed with his mother in Memphis. After completing the program, he learned he had a warrant out for his arrest and planned to turn himself in when he returned to Rankin County.
Trevor’s grandfather called the police to his home
McKinley returned to Mississippi in August and tried to turn himself in, his father Shannon McKinley previously told Insider, but the sheriff’s department told him he had to get a negative COVID-19 test first.
On August 21, 2021, McKinley’s grandparents planned to take him and his children to a lake for one last day together as a family before he turned himself in.
Sonny Quarles, Trevor’s grandfather, previously told Insider that Trevor got angry when he asked him to put some drawers he had removed back in place. Quarles said Trevor threw him to the ground.
Quarles said he called 911 because his wife, Charlene Quarles, was short of breath after the scuffle, but she recovered while he was on the phone and he said he no longer needed help. Quarles said he called 911 a second time after Trevor started “cussing again,” but he couldn’t remember if he said Trevor hit him.
When MPs arrived, they “flew into the courtyard,” Charlene Quarles previously told Insider.
“They jumped out of the car, didn’t say a word, didn’t show anything. One went to the front door, one to the kitchen door,” she said.
A few minutes later, Charlene Quarles said, she heard gunshots as deputies shot her grandson inside the house.
In a press release after the murder, the sheriff’s department said they were initially called to the house for a “medical call,” but “a caller from the scene indicated the call was a domestic disturbance” before the deputies arrived.
According to the press release, the deputies found Trevor hiding in the attic of the house. As Trevor fled the attic, he turned and fired multiple shots from a handgun at deputies, according to the press release.
A Mississippi Bureau of Investigations report obtained by Insider says law enforcement officers told investigators they also attempted to use a taser on McKinley when he fled.
Charlene Quarles previously told Insider that she believes her grandson was hiding from the deputies because someone in the sheriff’s office threatened Trevor with violence if he didn’t turn himself in.
“Trevor knows how they work up there,” Quarles said. “He’s been up there many times in his life and he knows they do.
McKinley speculated that his son might have fired his gun because the Taser’s electricity caused his muscles to tense when it hit him.
The sheriff’s deputies who shot Trevor did not appear to have written incident reports
Insider sued the Sheriff’s Department in July 2022 over incident reports by the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department related to McKinley’s death.
The department’s attorney produced only two incident reports related to the case in January 2023, after the grand jury returned a no-bill. Both reports were written by sheriff’s deputies who arrived after McKinley was shot.
The initial report, written by Deputy Allison Defour, simply states that Defour arrived at the scene after the shooting and “cordoned off an area across the front yard and side of the home” and “began a crime scene log of those entering/exiting the home.” “
The second report, written by Deputy Craig Williams, said Williams heard on his radio that two squad cars made a medical call that “became a domestic disturbance.”
“The suspect was Trevor McKinley and was hiding in the attic,” Williams wrote. “The Dispatch has announced that Trevor has an active warrant out for his arrest. I then heard radio traffic of shots being fired and reported to the scene.”
Williams wrote that he identified himself with “Deputy Pickle and Deputy Little” as he entered the home.
The sheriff’s department did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on whether the deputies involved in the shooting did not write incident reports and what the department’s policies are when they write a report.
5 deaths in 8 months
McKinley’s death is one of five deaths involving Rankin County Sheriff’s Deputies over an eight-month period in 2021. Insiders sued the sheriff’s department in July 2022 over records of three of the deaths, including McKinley’s. Insider previously reported the deaths of Cory Jackson and Damien Cameron.
Jackson died in the Rankin County Jail in May 2021 after deputies arrested him while he was having hallucinations and refused to drive him to the hospital, his family says. Cameron died in July 2021 after MPs chased him, reprimanded him and knelt on his back for more than 15 minutes at his home.
MPs shot and killed Robert Rushton in December 2021 while responding to a call about a drug overdose. The sheriff’s department said in a press release that he was armed with two knives. The fifth man, Adam Coker, also died in the Rankin County Jail in September 2021.
No charges were brought against MPs involved in any of the five cases. In October 2022, a jury declined to indict the MPs linked to Cameron’s death.
“You’re not following any protocol”
Jackie McKinley said when she tried to speak to Sheriff Bryan Bailey on the phone, she wanted to impress him that she felt his deputies needed better education.
“You don’t do things the way they should be done, you don’t,” McKinley said. “You’re not following any protocol. You just kill people at random.”
Damien Cameron’s family has been in touch, talking and sharing experiences with McKinley’s family since Trevor and Damien’s deaths, Jackie McKinley said. She said she hopes that paying attention to cases of police violence will lead to justice for others in the future.
“My son wasn’t perfect, you know, he had a lot of demons and problems,” said Jackie McKinley. “But he didn’t deserve to die.”