WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - A Hancock County clergyman says the gun violence the Coast has been seeing in recent weeks and months has got to end. He's taken a stance in hopes of stopping it in his own community of Waveland.
Armed with a Bible, Bishop Earl Terry declares war on the crime, violence and turbulence he says has rocked the once sleepy little town he was born and raised in.
His tactical strategy takes him door to door. The battle field is the Wave View Apartment complex. It's the place police say much of the city's unrest in recent months originated.
"We're just trying to bring a little peace and stability throughout Wave View, as well as our surrounding apartments and throughout the whole city," said Terry, of Southern Outreach Ministries as he spoke with tenant Benny Gousman.
Residents are desperate for relief and so are the police who have responded to dozens of calls there over the past few months.
"We have a lot of outsiders coming on property and doing things that's not good," Gousman said.
Since December, Waveland has had five shootings. Police say three of them happened here.
"Wave View. Every time I wake up, it was something robbery, shooting, the youngsters just out here running wild. I said this has got to change," said Terry.
He says that change starts with changing hardened hearts and minds.
"What do I do to the drive-by shooter when I see him? Do I just turn my nose up? Or do I tell him there is hope? Or what about the drug addict or drug dealer? Don't look at him funny. There is hope," Terry said.
It's a message he drives home during a weekly bible study at the Wave View Community Center with the blessing of the complex management.
"We have to be creative how we go about taking care of bad situations," said Jerry Best, who is part of the Wave View management team.
"Maybe a neighborhood watch in this area," Gousman said.
He hopes other tenants fed up with the violence will be part of restoring the peace.
Terry and his wife conduct the Bible study through their ministry, Southern Out-Reach Ministries, every Thursday at 7 p.m. For more information, call 228-265-3826 or 228-222-8104.