Homeless Man's Death in Cold Leaves Unanswered Questions - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/26/04

Homeless Man's Death in Cold Leaves Unanswered Questions

Authorities now know the identity of a man who, they say, froze to death in downtown Gulfport early Christmas morning.

Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove says 62 year-old Herman Galloway died of hypothermia.

Police found his body inside a vacant building on 28th street, near Highway 49 early Christmas morning.

But there is still one unanswered question surrounding his death.

Why didn't Galloway seek shelter at the Salvation Army, which is only a few blocks away.

Jeremy Thompson owns a wrecker shop across the street from where the body was found.

Although he was saddened by the news, he says he's not surprised.

"In the past year, I've been here, there's a lot of people from around this area that are in this building that come and go," Thompson said.

"You think that they would go to a shelter since they have a place here to stay, but they don't. They just wander around here," he added.

One woman we talked to saw the man just hours before his death.

Despite freezing temperatures, the man did not seek shelter at the Salvation Army, which is just a few blocks away.

Shelter workers say all they can do is provide a safe haven for those who want help.

"I'm wondering why didn't he go," said Rev. Al Wallace of Seashore Mission Church.

"Was it his fault? If he was that close, he possibly knew where the Salvation Army was. It's not the Salvation Army's fault. Why didn't he go and seek shelter there? What a shame," said Rev. Wallace.

Rev. Wallace says a record number of people have been seeking shelter at the Seashore Mission Church in Biloxi this past week.

He says 49 people slept inside his church on Christmas Eve.

"Because of the cold snap that we've had here on the coast, we've been letting them in a little earlier than before," Rev. Wallace said.

As for the homeless man who died Christmas morning, Rev. Wallace says he just wishes the man would have done more to protect himself from the bitter cold this holiday season.

By: Toni Miles

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