Investigators: Man fired shot that caused deadly house explosion in Marion County

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MARION COUNTY, Miss. (WHLT) – Deputies with the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office and an LC Gas Inspector completed an investigation into a deadly home explosion in Marion County.

On Friday, March 6, 2020, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1238 Pine Burr Road in Columbia around 8:00 a.m. to serve a warrant. 32-year-old Justin Dement contacted the sheriff’s office to turn himself in. When deputies arrived at his home, Dement would not come out. Negotiations with him lasted for 45 minutes.

During this time, investigators said Dement sent a Facebook message to a deputy saying he was filling the house with gas. Deputies on the scene went to the propane tank and turned the gas supply off to the house.

Shortly after that, gunshots were heard inside of the home. An explosion happened after the last shot.

Deputies called the Pine Burr Fire Department, and they tried the enter the home to rescue Dement. They were unable to do so because of the fire and smoke. The Pine Burr Fire Department arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire. Firefighters discovered Dement’s body in the house with a shotgun laying on him.

An investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office and an LC Gas Inspector showed that two gas lines in the house were turned on and left open, releasing propane gas into the house. Investigators said the shot Dement fired ignited the gas and caused the explosion.

Autopsy and toxicology exams on Dement are being conducted at the Mississippi State Forensics Laboratory.

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