Family members of man shot to death in Gulfport speak

Family members of man shot to death in Gulfport speak
Phillip Kennedy was shot and killed near 25th Street and Roberts Avenue Monday night in Gulfport. Now, those left behind are mourning his death. (Photo source: WLOX)

Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania announced Tuesday that no charges will be filed in a deadly shooting. The homicide is being treated as an act of self defense. Investigators said the shooting was over a $20 drug transaction.

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Phillip Kennedy, 37, was shot and killed near 25th Street and Roberts Avenue Monday night. Now, those left behind are mourning the loss of life.

One of Kennedy's family members, Brandon White, said, "We're really trying to get all the pieces together right now, as we speak. All I know, it's a lot of gunshots and it scared me and my family. And I just saw a lot of yellow tape and stuff, and just hoping it wasn't him, because it was close to his paw-paw's house."

White said he heard the gunshots around 9:30 Monday night. Officials said Kennedy was struck in the chest. He was taken to Memorial Hospital, where he died.

"I've grown up with him, and he used to be around the neighborhood and we had our good times, and It's a real sad day for us," said Kennedy's cousin, Laporsha Cunningham.

Cunningham said she's tired of the violence in her family's neighborhood.

"I heard a neighbor got shots in her home and her fish tank was broken. She said she felt the heat. She was in her living room, and all of a sudden her fish tank broke, and she felt some heat under her chin, and apparently it came from a gunshot. She has a hole in her home."

According to the Harrison County Sheriff's Office, Kennedy was recently released from jail on September 6th. Officials said he was in custody for about a month and a half on a variety of charges, including aggravated assault, burglary of a residence, controlled substance violations, and contempt of court. Authorities said he's been arrested and served jail time several times dating back to 2011 for possession of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.

"It's just sad," White said. "He's got a good family. I just feel bad for his kids and his baby mamas right now. I know they're going through it, too."

At the time of the shooting, police said Kennedy was out on bond for residential burglary and aggravated assault.

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