PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - “We could be dealing with three homicides here.”
That’s the sobering thought Picayune Police Chief Freddy Drennan knows could have easily been reality in his city Sunday afternoon when gunfire erupted outside an apartment complex.
A 13-year-old boy now sits in the Pearl River County jail on a $1.5 million bond, charged as an adult with three felony counts of aggravated assault. Drennan said the motive for the shooting was an ongoing argument between the suspect and some other juveniles, though he described the crime as “a random act” because the victims were not part of the argument with the suspect.
The three victims were shot in the legs. While Drennan said he is grateful that the three victims are now recovering at home, the police chief worries that too many young people don’t understand the consequences of their actions.
“He is very possibly going to prison for a very long time,” Drennan said.
The suspect surrendered to police Tuesday evening after authorities spend nearly 48 hours working to bring the boy in safely. The case remains under investigation, but the chief told WLOX News Now the shooting should be an example to young people to think about the choices they make.
“We have a situation in the city, like many other cities, that juveniles think they can commit crime and get a slap on the wrist and momma and daddy are gonna take them home and nothing’s going to happen about it, and that’s absolutely not true,” Drennan said. “When you commit a crime of this nature, you’re committing a felony, you’re going to wind up going to jail.”
Drennan said the police department is working with the school district, churches and community organizations to connect with teens to find ways to steer them away from bad choices.
“I wish I had the magic words that I could say to get them to understand you know you’re responsible for your actions and you’re gonna pay a price when you make bad decisions. I just wish I knew what those magic words were,” Drennan said.