Police identify murder suspect, community responds

Police identify murder suspect, community responds
One of the shooting victims fled the scene and crashed his car at Tennessee Avenue. (Image Source: WLOX News)
One of the shooting victims fled the scene and crashed his car at Tennessee Avenue. (Image Source: WLOX News)
The suspect has been identified as J'Var Vontou Pope. (Image Source: Gulfport Police Department)
The suspect has been identified as J'Var Vontou Pope. (Image Source: Gulfport Police Department)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Police are looking for 24-year-old J'Var Vontou Pope. He's charged with murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and two counts of armed robbery. One Gulfport resident says he thinks police may have identified the suspect faster if people weren't so afraid to speak up.

"Everybody scared, I guess. I don't know," said Frederick Ball who is a Gulfport resident.

It's been almost seven weeks since police say three men were shot while hanging out at the intersection of Louisiana Avenue and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Investigators say Pope pulled out a handgun and demanded money. One of the victims fled in a vehicle, crashing just a couple blocks away.

"Yea, I feel a whole lot better they got somebody that possibly did it," said George G. Washington who is a Gulfport resident.

Gulfport residents we spoke to were happy to know police had identified a suspect, but upset to see another young black man may be responsible for the senseless act of violence.

"That is so sad because so many young people are going to jail and we're losing so many of our African American people, and it's just really sad," said Florita Keller.

Police say the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous. If you have any information leading to the whereabouts of Pope, you're asked to call the Gulfport Police Department at 228-868-5959.

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