‘Call before it goes too far’: Gulfport Police urging citizens to be proactive to help curb violence

Since the beginning of June, WLOX has reported seven shootings in Gulfport, three of which were fatal.
Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 7:04 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Police, businesses and residents are frustrated after two shootings in Gulfport occurred less than 24 hours apart this week, one of which proved to be fatal.

The first happened Wednesday outside a restaurant on Courthouse Road, leaving a 26-year-old man dead and an 18-year-old charged with murder. Less than two miles away, a 34-year old woman was arrested Thursday following a road rage incident where she allegedly followed a man and shot him multiple times. He is now listed in serious but stable condition.

Police and community members are now pleading for an end to the violence, saying they have had enough.

Mark Stringer owns a business on Courthouse Road and was coming back from lunch Wednesday when shots rang out in the air. Those shots were quickly followed by gunshots and chaos erupted.

”I heard the gunshots, it wasn’t just one. It was like someone emptied a whole clip,” he recalled. “It was bam, bam, bam, bam, bam.”

Police say those shots were fired from an assault rifle.

“I never thought I would see it in our backyard, but I guess we are not immune to it,” said Stringer. “The rest of the country has been seeing it and it has been showing up here, too.”

Since the beginning of June, WLOX has reported seven shootings in Gulfport, three of which were fatal.

Gulfport Police Chief Chris Ryle believes people are finally fed up with the violence. He is hopeful that the community as a whole will do their part to help police keep people safe.

“We want to partner with you to make these neighborhoods safer,” he said. “It is not just a police problem, as I have said for several months. It is a community problem. If you are seeing or hearing these gunshots, seeing these individuals carry these guns, that is the opportunity to give us a call before it goes too far.”

In the last month, Ryle said residents have stepped up, helping police to solve some of the recent violent crimes.

“Unfortunately, we have had several violent incidents over the last few weeks but we have made solves on those cases,” said Ryles. “We have made arrests and those have been vey quick after the incidents. Without the public support and assistance, that would not have happened. They have been very supportive and are saying enough is enough.”

City Council President Rusty Walker took to Facebook, posting an emotional plea following Thursday’s shooting. He said the victim was a visitor from out of town and that the suspect also did not live in Gulfport.

“It happened right next to the fire station on Searle, where our children buy root beer from the Coke machine, ride their bikes to a friend’s house, and play in the ballpark. Sure, the victim and suspect weren’t from here, but it sure happened here!” reads the post, which went on to talk about providing more community social services to help stop violence before it begins.

“Gun violence is a complex problem that is impacting every community in America. However, like you, I’m worried about it here in our Gulfport neighborhoods... This is not a failure of police, but obviously, the police will have a role in addressing it.”

Regarding our recent shootings in Gulfport: There is no simple solution. Gun violence is a complex problem that is...

Posted by F.B. "Rusty" Walker, IV on Thursday, July 8, 2021

Gulfport Police say tips about crimes can always be made by contacting them directly at 228-868-5959, or by contacting Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers online or at 877-787-5898.

Copyright 2021 WLOX. All rights reserved.