GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Gulfport police are still investigating a shooting over the weekend that left two women and a toddler injured.
All three victims are now recovering at home but authorities are still looking for the suspect responsible for shooting them.
Gulfport Police Chief Chris Ryle didn’t hold back when talking about the crime on Tuesday, noting that the three victims were completely innocent victims in this crime.
“These people are cowards who use weapons to solve issues,” he said.
Preventing crimes like this comes back to community outreach, specifically with youth, said the chief.
“Unfortunately, our youth violence rates and guns have not decreased if anything they have increased, which is disheartening,” he said. “This past weekend, we had three innocent people shot, including a three year old child.”
No one has been arrested yet and authorities are asking for the public’s help to come forward if they know anything at all about the crime, regardless of how small a detail it may be.
“If you see something you got to say something.,” said Chief Ryle. “We know we have the best detectives, but if nobody wants to talk to us and there is no physical evidence, it is going to be hard for us to solve the case. So we are going to need the community’s cooperation in identifying these suspects and bring them to justice so this three-year old victim will have someone held accountable for what they did to them.”
Chief Ryle has talked openly before about the importance of youth outreach and the need to limit teen violence by putting kids on a better path forward.
“I see two paths that are going to happen if they are going to continue down this road. One path is prison and the other path, you will end up in the cemetery,” said Chief Ryle. “If you play with guns long enough and play with them with the wrong people, somebody is going to lose and you have a 50/50 shot of it being you.”
Teens are gaining access to firearms through car robberies, said the chief, adding that the community must be more responsible moving forward.
”Ninety to 95 percent of vehicle burglaries are doors that are left unlocked,” he said. “If you’re going to own a gun, be responsible. If you’re going to keep it in your car, lock your car.”
Anyone with information about Saturday’s shooting is asked to contact the Gulfport Police Department at 228-868-5900. Anonymous tips can also be made to Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers online or by calling.