The Obit For Mike Walter

Husband, father, ex-pitcher mourned

Special to The Clarion-Ledger
Written by Therese Apel
May. 1, 2012

Fallen Pearl police investigator Mike Walter was 37 years old, just a year younger than the town he had served since 2009, when he was killed Tuesday during a shootout with a suspect.

Although born in San Diego, Calif., his ties to the Jackson metro area go back to 1997 when he played minor league baseball for four years.
Walter met his wife, Jeanne, during his years in Jackson, family friends said. The couple have a daughter, 11-year-old Bailey.
Stephanie Teague said she and her husband were friends with the couple, and their children play soccer together.

"Mike Walter is a loyal, funny, wonderful father, husband and friend. We miss him already, and our soccer family is changed forever," she said. "He didn't walk through the door tonight, and I can't imagine the pain his little girl and wife are feeling."

Walter was a guy who smiled all the time, Pearl police Lt. Butch Townsend said.

Walter's wife and daughter were a big part of that, he said.

"Seldom did a smile leave his face, and his smiles were never bigger than when he would speak of his wife and daughter," he said in a release late Tuesday.

Officers from agencies all over the metro area gathered at the University of Mississippi Medical Center to support their fallen comrade. Many remained even after he was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound to the head at 11:56 a.m.

Within hours of Walter's death, a page was put up in his memory on the Officer Down Memorial Page website (www.odmp.org), which has gathered condolences from all over the world so far.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood also issued a statement on Walter's sacrifice.
"Today we are saddened beyond words that we have lost one of our state's finest. We mourn this loss with our fellow law enforcement officers, and we pray for Detective Walter's family, friends and co-workers," he said.

Walter played eight years of professional baseball, including four in Jackson, from 1997-2000. The first three seasons in Jackson he played for the Jackson Generals, the Houston Astros' Double-A Texas League team at the time. The final season he played for the Independent League Jackson Senators.

Walter was a relief pitcher who was selected by the Astros in the 25th round of the 1993 Major League Baseball draft. He joined the Astros' Rookie League club in Florida that summer and rose through the ranks from Rookie League to Single-A to Double-A before retiring from baseball after the 2000 season.
Jackson businessman Con Maloney owned Jackson's Double-A franchise for 25 years. He said many Jackson Mets and Generals' players met their future wives while playing in Jackson, striving to rise to the major leagues.
"A young man like that had an opportunity to chase a dream (making the major leagues) and when that didn't materialize, he chased another dream (police work)," Maloney said. "It turned into a nightmare, and for that we are all terribly sorry."

Tuesday night at Trustmark Park, the fallen officer was honored. Mississippi Braves General Manager Steve DeSalvo said the team would find a way to pay greater tribute when it returns to home field.

"We have heavy hearts today and are deeply saddened for this loss to one of our own. Our hearts and prayers go out to the entire Pearl Police Department and their families on this tragic day," he said. "Tonight is a college game, and we are flying the American Flag at half-staff and observing a moment of silence before the national anthem."

Before coming to Jackson, Walter lived with his parents, John and Judy Walter, in San Diego, Townsend said. Walter loved baseball, but he also was a huge San Diego Chargers fan. His other great love was law enforcement.
"Heaven is welcoming a hero today," Hood said.

"His smiles were never bigger than when he would speak of his wife and daughter."