Waveland group hosts self defense class in wake of Eliza Fletcher attack

Before you head out the door, have a safety plan in place.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 10:19 PM CDT
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WAVELAND, Miss. (WLOX) - The tragic death of Eliza Fletcher is still on the minds of many people in the community.

The attack and death of the Memphis woman has left several searching for ways to protect themselves.

Residents in Waveland gathered at the police department for a self defense course.

What’s the first thing to do if you’re attacked by someone? How do you know if you’re in a safe environment?

These are the questions most people won’t have an answer to, and oftentimes won’t know how to react.

“Hopefully we can just stress situational awareness and give them a few techniques if someone tries to grab them and put them in the car,” said Waveland Police Investigator Ray Murphy. “There’s so much that we can do.”

These moves may look harmless, but they can actually save your life.

A quick flick of the wrist or even a jab to the chin can injure an attacker, giving you time to escape or possibly prepare yourself for a fight.

Waveland police also offered some helpful tips.

“You should always have a buddy if possible,” Murphy said. You should always have at least one ear available. You should run and constantly be looking behind you and to the sides of you, doing a survey.”

Bay St. Louis Running Company teamed up with Waveland police to spread awareness.

Joel Lawhead said the group organized Wednesday’s class in honor of Fletcher.

“I think runners everywhere were impacted because we can all relate,” Lawhead said. “We thought this was a good way to help make the streets safer and training they could use if necessary.”

Officers are keeping an eye around community. Gabrielle Lauga with Waveland police said incident reports keep coming in.

“I’d say we probably get around 50 calls. We do get a lot of suspicious vehicles, suspicious people walking around, especially early hours in the morning. A vehicle could be parked for awhile and nobody is in it or they see someone and they’re just kind of sitting there,” Lauga said.

She encouraged both women and men to enroll in a self defense courses.

“It’s nice to see these people come forward and try and come to protect themselves,” Lauga said.

If you are interested in learning self defense tips, contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance.

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