Gulfport Man Convicted Of Drive-By Shooting

Courtesy: Harrison County Sheriff's Department, Michael Eugene Welch
Courtesy: Harrison County Sheriff's Department, Michael Eugene Welch

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - According to Harrison County Assistant District Attorney Chris Schmidt,  25-year-old Michael Eugene Welch was convicted on three counts of aggrevated assault. It took only an hour for the jury to reach that verdict.

In March of 2007, a drive-by shooting in Gulfport occurred near Crossroads Mall. Three brothers were in a car and were shot at a stoplight at Community Road and Highway 49. One of the brothers had superficial wounds; while another brother was shot in shoulder. The third brother was shot in face one time. There was a fourth passenger in car who was not hit. All four identified Welch as the shooter.

All three brothers identified Welch in a lineup and in court. Welch's half-sister was driving the vehicle that Welch was in testified against him.

Prosecutors say the incident started as banter between passengers in two separate vehicles at a stoplight at Airport Road on Highway 49.  By the time they got to Crossroads Mall at Community Road, the talking, teasing and taunting escalated and shots were fired.

Welch maintained a third person in the car did the shooting.

Judge Roger Clark presided over the case and sentenced Welch to 20 years in prison on each count. The first two are to run consecutively, so he'll have a total of 40 years.  He was sentenced as a habitual offender.