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Fatal shooting victim identified, family seeks answers

The family of 53-year-old Jimmy McCullous hopes that someone will come forward with information that could identify the gunman who left McCullous for dead late Saturday night.

Bonifay Police Department (BPD) is investigating the homicide.

“We loved him even though he sometimes veered off and did his own thing. He is family; we’re all he knew,” said Michelle Granger, the victim’s sister-in-law. “He definitely didn’t deserve what happened.”

McCullous was sort of a fixture in Bonifay. He was known as “Big Baby” to family and friends due to being a gentle giant type.

“He had some mental challenges,” Granger said. “Book-wise, he was slow. But streetwise, he was smart.”

Granger said McCullous’s mother passed away when he was a young child, and he had to learn to fend for himself.

McCullous was originally from Birmingham, Ala. He met his life partner, Delphine Brown, 19 years ago at a rehab facility in Miami. The two fell in love and settled in Bonifay. The couple had been living apart for the past year since Brown’s health required her to reside at the nursing home.

Granger said McCullous worked part-time stocking the cooler at the BP gas station at the intersection of S.R. 79 and U.S. 90 in the middle of town.

“When I went in the store, he always held the door for me and was so sweet,” said Bonifay resident Leah Rae Miller. “I know I’m not the only one, but he always tried to brighten my day and tell me how nice I looked even if I was a wreck. He always told me to have a nice day.”

McCullous’s gentle nature is why his family is baffled by why anyone would want to hurt him.

Chief Chris Wells said dispatch received the call around 11:45 p.m. about McCullous’s body laying in the eastbound lane of U.S. 90 next to Grocery Outlet. McCullous had a single gunshot wound to the abdomen where it appears the bullet entered and exited the body.

Wells said there is no suspect or known motive in the shooting at this time.

“Even though he drank a lot, he was really humble and respectful. He would help anybody,” Granger said. “He was just all around a good guy.”

Granger said the last time she saw her brother-in-law alive was the day prior. McCullous had asked for $5. When they handed it to him, McCullous said, “Okay, I love y’all.”

Granger is happy those were his last words to the family if she had to hear them.

“Now we just need to get some closure,” Granger said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call BPD at 850-547-3661 or provide tips anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 850-547-TIPS.

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