Teen facing murder charge

By REGGIE ROSS
Staff Writer

The Grenada County Sheriff’s Department is still trying to piece together the details that led to the shooting death of a 46-year-old Grenada man.
Grenada County Sheriff Investigator Josh Dale identified the victim as Jeff Counts, 46, of Grenada.
According to Dale, deputies responded to a shooting call in the 16000 block of Highway 51 North. Dale said the house sits about 300 yards south of the county line.
A man Dale identified as Gage Atkinson, 18, was arrested at the scene and charged with murder, Dale said.
A $500,000 cash only bond was set for Atkinson Monday morning. He is being held at the Grenada County Jail, and a preliminary hearing is set for Thursday at Grenada County Justice Court.
Grenada County Sheriff Alton Strider said officers are putting together loose ends during the investigation and are figuring things out. He said witnesses are being interviewed.
“The shooting took place at an old house,” Strider said. “Neither the victim nor the suspect lived there. They were all back there shooting rifles. Nobody living in that house; it didn’t even have electricity.”
Strider said the backyard was heavily-wooded and the group was practicing.
Dale said that upon arrival, officers found Counts dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the head.
According to Dale, the sheriff’s department is investigating the shooting as a domestic-related situation.
“Gage is the son of the victim’s fiance,” Dale said.
Strider said Counts worked for years as a salesman with Kirk Auto Company.
Counts’ longtime co-worker, Shane Harrison, said he last saw Counts Saturday before going home from work.
“I gave him a bear hug,” Harrison said. “He was just that type of guy, well-liked and just super nice.”
Dale said the sheriff’s department has ordered an autopsy from the State Crime Lab.