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Northern Mississippi officials react with strong warning language deputies shot

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- "If you cross that line and come in to Southaven, we’re going to bust your tail," said Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite.

"If you come to DeSoto County and you mess up, you gon' pay the price," state Representative Jeff Hale said.

Northern Mississippi officials warned criminals using strong words with nearly a militaristic message after a man shot two deputies and died in a shoot-out with police Wednesday night.

“We stand united to provide a solid line of defense for our citizens,” Southaven Police Chief Steve Pirtle said.

Mississippi officials said they are prepared for a violent episode like that which happened Wednesday night.

They said their proximity to Memphis means they've been dealing with spill-over crime for years.

“Certainly a large percentage of defendants we deal with in Southaven, Horn Lake, the county and Hernando are going to be Memphis residents. There’s no doubt about that,” District Attorney John Champion said.

Champion didn't provide exact numbers, but that’s why Musselwhite said Southaven spends around 70 percent of its annual budget on public safety.

He said that plan is working.

“When an event happens [like] last night it causes a lot of concern, but it’s important to note the crime rates in Southaven are less than the national average and the state average of Mississippi,” Musselwhite said.

Still, other leaders thought the violent attack was a sign northern Mississippi needs more officers.

"Hopefully the funding will be there to help put more officers on the streets in the counties and cities," Hale said.

He said he'd work to have legislation passed by 2018.