Man charged after trying to run over DeSoto Co. deputy prompting gunfire

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 9:34 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2022 at 4:59 AM CDT
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OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. (WMC) - A man is behind bars facing aggravated assault charges after he attempted to run over a deputy in Olive Branch Thursday afternoon.

The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department (DCSD) identified the suspect as 26-year-old Darielle Davonte Sparks of Marion, Arkansas, who in 2020 was charged with reckless driving in Memphis.

Deputies say they were conducting a sting operation around 2:30 p.m. on Bethel Road and Hwy 78 near the Brite Wash in search of sex offenders when Sparks escaped from deputies in a Mercedes Benz.

DCSD described him as a “human trafficker.”

Chief Deputy Justin Smith says Sparks then tried to run over one of the deputies, prompting the deputy to fire his weapon.

Police say Sparks was taken to the hospital in non-critical condition after being shot.

The scene in Olive Branch
The scene in Olive Branch(Action News 5)

Maria Velasque works at a business in the strip mall next to the scene.

She says she watched as deputies cuffed Sparks after the shooting.

“They got him out of the car and they had him in handcuffs on the floor,” she said.

Velasque also said she saw a young woman in the car Sparks was driving when deputies took him into custody.

“This was a violent offender who tried to kill one of our deputies today,” Smith said. “My message would be criminals out there would be don’t come to Desoto County trying to hurt our deputies or anybody else in our innocent civilian population.”

Chunitta Tunsteall also works at a business in the strip mall. She said it was unsettling to hear that deputies were investigating human trafficking in her community.

“It makes me feel very shaken up and the community that we live in, and crime is so high, every day seems like something is going on. It’s very terrifying,” Tunsteall said.

Sparks’ bond is set at $250,000.

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