Latest Mississippi news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. CDT

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi shows wide racial gap in impact of coronavirus

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — New Health Department numbers show a wide disparity in how COVID-19 is affecting black and white Mississippians. According to information out Wednesday, 72% of Mississippi residents who have died of the virus were black and 28% were white. That's based on cases with “full information” available by Tuesday evening. About 38% of Mississippi residents are black and 59% are white. The Health Department says Mississippi has more than 2,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 67 deaths. Gov. Tate Reeves is urging churches not to have in-person Easter services. He says he'll decide by Tuesday whether to extend school closures beyond April 17.

JUDGE SHOT-REWARD

Reward upped to $32,000 in shooting of Mississippi judge

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — The shooting of a judge outside a Mississippi courthouse remains unsolved, so now officials have increased the reward for information leading to an arrest. Police say Chancery Judge Charlie Smith was shot near his abdomen as he was leaving his truck to enter the Lauderdale County Courthouse on March 16. He has been recovering after initially being hospitalized in critical condition. News outlets report Tuesday that officials are now offering a $32,000 reward for information. Meridian’s Interim Police Chief Lewis Robbins says investigators think the shooting was an isolated event that was personally “directed toward” Smith.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MEETING HACKED

Mississippi mayor's online meeting hacked with racial slurs

MOSS POINT, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi mayor says his online meeting was hacked with vulgar and racist words and images because of his recent comments about the new coronavirus. News outlets report Moss Point Mayor Mario King was leading a meeting Tuesday night on Zoom when someone interrupted the online gathering. The meeting was ended and the mayor did a Facebook Live to address the hack. He says he often receives racist messages. He also says he may have been targeted because he called out Gov. Tate Reeves for his response to the coronavirus outbreak in Mississippi. King says future Zoom meetings for the city will require a password.

FAIR COMMISSIONER ARRESTED

Mississippi fair director charged in prostitution promotion

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The executive director of the Mississippi Fair Commission has been fired after he was charged with promoting prostitution. News outlets report that 54-year-old Steve Hutton was arrested Wednesday by officers from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and Madison police. He was booked into the Madison County jail. It was not immediately clear whether Hutton is represented by an attorney. The fair commission issued a statement saying it had fired Hutton from the job he had held since 2018. The commission is in charge of the Mississippi State Fairgrounds near downtown Jackson.

CONFEDERATE MONTH-MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi governor declares Confederate Heritage Month

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has declared April as Confederate Heritage Month. The first-year governor is following the practice of several of his Democratic and Republican predecessors. The state’s only African American congressman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, says Reeves's action is “unnecessary.” The Mississippi chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans posted Reeves's proclamation on its Facebook page. The document does not mention slavery as the central issue of the Civil War. It says Americans should learn from the “mistakes and successes” of the past. Mississippi is the last state with a flag that prominently features the Confederate battle emblem.

JACKSON STRING SHOOTINGS

Police: Shootings that killed two under investigation

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Jackson Police say they are investigating a string of shootings that killed two people and injured three others in connection to each other. Police say the Monday morning shootings killed one man and injured another in a Taco Bell Parking lot. Officers say an 11-year-old child was also fatally shot inside his apartment. Police say another man and child were injured but did not suffer life-threatening injuries after shots were fired inside their homes. No injuries have been reported in the fifth shooting inside a home. Police say vehicle descriptions from three of the shootings appear similar.