Shocked Gulfport residents react to mayor's indictment

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - News of Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr's indictment broke right before the lunch rush at Skeeter's Restaurant on Wednesday.

"Jesus!" one woman exclaimed after hearing about the maximum penalties the Warrs could face if they are convicted.

Employees and a few customers from Gulfport gathered around TV sets in disbelief, after learning that the mayor and his wife are facing 16 Katrina fraud charges. The federal allegations against the Warrs included conspiracy, wire fraud, and mail fraud.

"I was very surprised. Very shocked," said Colleen Strickland. "It's kind of scary. I mean you don't, you don't do that."

"I thought he was a good person. A good mayor," said Andre Simpson.

"He's definitely in a lot of trouble," said Chad Hicks. "Oh, he probably won't be mayor much longer, that's for sure."

In downtown Gulfport, some of the conversation at Tripplett-Day drug store centered on the Warrs. Michelle Thompson heard about the indictment from a friend.

"I think that if he did do something wrong, then hopefully they will punish him for it," said Thompson.

There were plenty of opinions about the mayor's legal troubles, however, a lot of people did not want to comment on camera. They did point out though, that the mayor and his wife are innocent until proven guilty, and they're hoping that the charges will not hurt the city's image.

"It may affect his image, but not the city," said Thompson. "I mean he's an individual."

"It might hurt the reputation, probably no trust in the government," said Simpson.

"I would never have suspected him, of all people," said Hicks. "But I guess that's how it's going down. I'm not sure. I have to stay tuned to find out what's going on."