Meridian Star

September 11, 2013

Man who died in fire had gunshot wound to head

The Associated Press
Associated Press

LONG BEACH, Miss. — Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove says a 58-year-old man found dead in a camper fire near Long Beach had been shot in the head.

Hargrove says the remains of Al Daroca were found in a camper near Long Beach on Aug. 28, the day after the fire.

He tells The Sun Herald ( ) an autopsy showed he died of smoke inhalation, but he also had a gunshot wound to the head.

The report of the gunshot wound had been withheld pending further investigation by the Harrison County Sheriff's Office.

"Ultimately, the gunshot wound would have killed him had it not been for smoke inhalation," Hargrove said.

The death remains under investigation as a homicide. No arrests have been made because it's unclear if a crime was committed.

"We have to determine whether it was a homicide or self-inflicted," sheriff's Maj. Ron Pullen said.

Harrison County firefighters were unaware anyone was home when they responded to the fire. Officials have said neighbors told them Daroca had left for a job interview in Louisiana, and his vehicle wasn't parked outside the camper.

The next day, Daroca's girlfriend texted a Long Beach firefighter and reported Daroca hadn't gone out of town, officials said. His girlfriend had borrowed his vehicle, Pullen said.

His remains were found in the rubble of the charred camper.