Police chief speaks on Gulfport's first homicide of 2016

Police chief speaks on Gulfport's first homicide of 2016
Chief Papania urges the community to pay attention to youth and steer them away from violence. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Chief Papania urges the community to pay attention to youth and steer them away from violence. (Image Source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX)

Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania described the murder of 16-year-old Ny-Gel Poole as senseless, sad and frustrating.

"Why is it we continue to produce young people with an indifference to life," said Papania.

In an April 2015 press conference following two weekend murders in Gulfport, Papania said he was fed up with those who had no morals or regard for the law. 

"It's sad, because we shouldn't be losing our young people to crime," said Papania.

Less than a year later, he's making those same statements.

"Petty crime and people are turning a blind eye to that, and there's a certain level of acceptance. Then, when it escalates to a violent crime, suddenly people are concerned," said Papania.

Officers with the Gulfport Police Department participate in various community outreach programs, where they try to reach at risk youth.

Less than a month ago, Papania spoke at Cafe Climb, a program that gives youth workforce training opportunities. Poole was in the program and in the crowd that day.

"You know, I look back, and I spoke specifically about unfortunately, right now in the society we live in, nationally, one of the greatest threats to young black males is other young black males with guns," said Papania.

Unfortunately, Papania's statements that day held true, which is why he says this crime is so personal. He just wishes more people would take it personally and point our youth away from violence.

"We keep saying well what do we have to do? What do we need to do to fix it? The fixes are out there. There's a church on every corner in this city, and there is a preacher willing to invite them in," said Papania.

Papania added that reporting even minor crimes aids in keeping people safe. If you see something, say something by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898.

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