Gautier parents outraged by shooting near ballpark

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Many parents in Gautier are fuming after they say someone fired shots next to a crowded ballpark, putting their children in danger. Police said the shooting happened at Belleville Apartment complex on Ladnier Road Tuesday night.

Amanda McClain and her 11-year-old, Alexandria, said they're still shaken up from Tuesday night's shooting near Bacot Park in Gautier.

"It sounded loud and it echoed through the park," McClain said.

The mother and daughter were there for a baseball tournament, along with more than 100 other parents and kids, when shots rang out.

"It was like pow, pow, pow," one little league player said.

Grandparent Lori Tirochessett was in the stands when she heard the piercing sound of gunfire.

"Kids were scrambling, parents were scrambling, and some kids were being dragged, some kids were being held in their parents' arms and everyone just running for safety," Tirochessett said.

Police Chief Eddie Williams said someone was shooting off rounds in the air at the apartment complex. He said he's upset about the senseless shooting.

"Bullets are going to go somewhere," Williams said, "and they are going to either strike a house, or go in through an apartment window, or door, or ball field."

Williams said police have been beefing up the patrols in the area, but the problem is no one in the community wants to report the criminals.

"Everybody heard the shots, but no one has enough information for us to make a valid ID in the area, and we get that a lot."

Williams said since January, police have responded to more than 100 calls in the community. Out of those, ten were random gunfire reports.

"We need help, if they see something going on, report it," Williams said.

Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said the city has agreed to move the baseball teams with children to another park so the kids and parents will feel safer.  The little league baseball games can now take place at Buddy Davis Park on Lark Drive. He also plans to meet with the apartment complex owners to get their help to fight crime in the area.

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