Finding murder suspect number one priority for Troy police

Published 3:00 pm Monday, October 29, 2012

The Troy Police Department’s number one priority on Monday was finding Suroy Wheeler and arresting him for the murder of a 29-year-old Troy woman.


“I think he is on the run right now,” said Troy Police Sgt. Benny Scarbrough before addressing the suspect through the media. “We can make this a lot easier, Mr. Wheeler, if you turn yourself in. There is a warrant for your arrest for murder.”

Troy Police received a call just after 3 p.m. Saturday alerting them to a body found in an apartment at Troy Villas. When police arrived, they found Melissa Shipman. She’d died from a gunshot wound.

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“[They were] associates. I can’t put their relationship at any other status than that right now,” Scarbrough said. “They were definitely associates. They knew one another. How well, I do not know.”

An arrest warrant has been signed for Wheeler, 33, and his bond has been set at $100,000.

Scarbrough said police believe Wheeler is no longer in the area and is not a threat to Troy residents. Wheeler is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 175 pounds. Scarbrough asked anyone with information about the crime, or Wheeler’s whereabouts, to call the Troy Police Department at 566-0500 or the Secret Witness line at 566-5555. He also cautioned Wheeler’s friends and family that aiding Wheeler or withholding information could lead to criminal charges for them.

Scarbrough said he did not know Shipman, but sympathized with her and her family.

“Any person who had to go through what she had to go through in the last moments of her life I think is horrific in itself. No one deserves that,” Scarbrough said. “Justice has to prevail in this case. That is the side I am standing on. On the side of justice.”

Scarbrough said Shipman’s family is holding up as well as they can and the department hopes to catch Wheeler soon to help them find closure.

“Arresting Suroy Wheeler, that is the number one objective we have right now – bringing him to justice, taking him into custody and bringing him back to Troy, Alabama to stand trial for the murder of Melissa Shipman.”

Scarbrough said Wheeler has had brushes with the law in the past, but none of them have involved any violence. Court records indicate Wheeler has no prior convictions.

The Pike County District Attorney’s Office and the Pike County Circuit Clerk’s Office are assisting in this investigation.