BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WVUE) - There was a sign of mourning at the Bay St. Louis Police Department Friday.
"It's hard to express how deeply loved Mike DeNardo was by everybody in this city, by not only his own team of officers, he was very much liked by every department," said Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame.
Fillingame said Police Chief Mike Denardo was suspended without pay Thursday pending an investigation. After turning in his equipment, including his city-issued gun, officials said he grabbed a gun from his car and shot himself in the parking lot of the police station.
"We've got the state and the FBI are in, and they are assisting, if not leading, the investigation, and we want them to give it a complete look you know. We want them to have to overturn, you know, every stone, whatever they need to do to get the true story, you know. It is very important to us to know what happened," said Fillingame.
Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said his department was investigating DeNardo for payroll fraud.
"The investigation was on multiple fronts. This was something that was brought to our attention several weeks ago, about three weeks ago now, we looked into, got the records, and informed the mayor about it," said Adam. "Turning in false time sheets, and apparently it came to us that he was turning them in for his wife who was not even in Mississippi at the time - or ex-wife, I should say."
Reporter: Did she work for the Bay St. Louis Police Department?
Adam: Yeah she was, had worked for Bay St. Louis Police Department, she had worked for me part time.
But Chief Deputy Don Bass told us that DeNardo sold a city-owned rifle, and investigators were looking into whether he sold other city property. Bass said deputies hadn't had a chance to interview DeNardo about the case.
The sheriff told sister station WLOX that after DeNardo shot himself, he found a letter in his office from DeNardo apologizing for lying to him about the payroll fraud.
The sheriff will be stepping in to temporarily help the Police Department.