WEST POINT, Miss. — Javerest Gray, an employee of Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi, was shot and killed early on Feb. 22 in the factory parking lot shortly after finishing work, allegedly by a fellow employee.
Police are searching for Willie Swain Jr., “a person of interest” in the fatal shooting that reportedly occurred outside of the plant just after 7 a.m. on Feb. 22, according to Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott.
“I can’t give many more details at this point as we are not too deeply into the details,” Scott told Rubber News. “We want to find this person, and we have a lot of agencies working on this.
“We know there was some type of altercation or argument in the parking lot.”
Both the suspect and the victim were Yokohama workers who had just finished the third shift at the tire manufacturing facility when the shooting occurred, according to police.
Gray, 28, was taken to the Northern Mississippi Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead just after 8 a.m., Scott said.
“(Swain) is still on the loose, but we believe he is still in the area,” Scott said. “We have a lot of people out looking for him and getting the media involved and another pair of eyes on this helps us out.”
Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact the Clay County Sheriff's Office at 662-494-2896, Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers at 800-530-7151 or the Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers P3 App.
The local company is a dedicated truck/bus tire manufacturing plant and is part of Yokohama Tire North America Inc., which is based in Santa Ana, Calif. The company issued a press release after this morning’s incident.
“YTMM is shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence,” said Philip Calhoun, YTMM’s plant manager and vice president of manufacturing. “YTMM takes the safety and health of its employees seriously and we ask that you keep the deceased and their family in your thoughts as we are all mourning this tragedy.
“Production has ceased for the time being and grief counselors have been made available to all YTMM team members.”
Calls to the West Point, Miss., plant were not immediately returned.
YTMM added that it is cooperating with local authorities.
Yokohama Tire Corp. and YTTM are part of Yokohama Corp. of North America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo, Japan-based Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.