13-year-old Gulfport boy charged as an adult in shooting of two girls

Updated: May. 22, 2019 at 6:16 AM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A 13-year-old boy is facing charges in the Tuesday night shooting of two girls.

The boy accused of shooting the girls is now charged with two counts of aggravated assault. Police said he is being charged as an adult. However, WLOX has chosen not to release his name due to his age.

The teenager was arrested by Gulfport Police after the shooting, which happened around 7:30 p.m. at the pool of Oxford Point Apartments on East Taylor Road.

Both of the girls were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, said police. The ages of the two juveniles was not released.

According to police, many people witnessed the shooting. Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said this is a case of established institutions that failed the suspect.

“It’s unfortunate having to charge a 13-year-old, but the people that should have prevented this from happening failed to do their jobs a long time ago. So, these consequences aren’t because the police department’s trying to be hard. It’s just a lot of other people have failed in their duties to prevent that kid from committing this crime," he said.

On Wednesday, management from Oxford Point Apartments told WLOX that neither the 13-year-old boy nor the two girls who were shot lived at the apartment complex and that there is surveillance video of the incident is currently in police possession

The manager said the incident reflects an ongoing problem with trespassing that the complex has been experiencing since spring from surrounding neighborhoods. They can enter at the gate after residents enter or exit, but they have also scaled the outside fencing around the tennis courts and even the fence surrounding the pool where the two girls were shot.

“How many kids have to get shot? How many crime scenes to we have to work? How much evidence do we have to process in the labs before we realize we’re not saving anything? And the only way we’re going to have to get a hold of it is having realistic conversations about what the real drivers of our problems are,” Papania said.

He is being held at Harrison County Jail with a bond set at $50,000 for each charge.

Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to contact Gulfport Police Department at 228-868-5959. Anonymous tips can also be made to Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers online or by calling 877-787-5898

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