MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point Mayor Mario King held a news conference Tuesday morning at City Hall to talk about the recent rash of gun violence in his city, and what can be done to squash it.
"Today a family is preparing for a funeral. Today a family is preparing for funeral arrangements. And today a family sits in a waiting room awaiting their doctor's prognosis for their child. Enough is enough. Our kids cannot wait," Mayor King said. "Today I am asking you all to squash it. #SqaushIt. This is our community this is our city, and it's time to put our arms around it and one another."
His call for change comes after three people were shot during a home invasion at a Super Bowl party. One of the victims died. This marks the fifth homicide investigation in Moss Point in 2018.
"Now is the time to come forward if you have information, or if you think you might have some information. Call us, because we can't follow up and solve these things without good leads to work on," Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said. "Please, now is not the time to say, 'I'm not going to talk to the police.' Now's the time to talk to us because we need you. All of us need you so that we can get this thing done."
The sheriff implored residents to think about the community as a whole, and how they can play a role in making things better.
"Let's remember these families that are suffering right now. Let's pray for them, and think about what they're going through and not think about ourselves. Now's the time to step up and let's be good people," Sheriff Ezell said.
District Attorney Tony Lawrence said the problem of drugs and violence isn't an isolated one. "This is not just a Moss Point problem. This is a problem all across the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Lawrence said.
Lori Massey with Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers said her organization is ready to take information and tips from anyone with the promise that they will not be identified.
"We do not record your calls, and we do not have caller ID. We have an app you can download. Swear on a stack of bibles, we do not know your identity," Massey said.
The number to Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers is (877) 787-5898. You can also visit www.mscoastcrimestoppers.com to leave a tip online, or to learn more about downloading the free app.
After the officials spoke, longtime Moss Point resident David Wright stood up in the crowd and gave an emotional testimony about watching video of Sunday's home invasion where one man was killed.
"I had to sit last night and listen to my friend beg for his life. I had to sit there and listen to that. I shouldn't have to do that," Wright said. "We need more people to stand up and stop closing they're mouths. Open your mouth. If you see something, say something."
"This is greater than a Facebook like, political battle, or any grudge you have. It's time to pull together in the face of adversity," the mayor said in a Facebook post ahead of the news conference. "So everyone please take a step back and ask yourself what can I do and don't contribute to the mess that is already detrimental to our city."