Gunfire claims at council meeting investigated

Published 2:22 pm Thursday, March 3, 2011

A shooting that is reported to have occurred off of Brookdale Drive in Picayune apparently was never reported to the Picayune Police Department on the day it happened.

Tuesday night, concerned citizens of that neighborhood appeared before the city council and said that a series of gunshots were heard Sunday at about 5 p.m. The concerned citizen, Manny Jones, said he was told by his neighbor that she had called 911 to report the incident, but officers with the police department never appeared on the scene.

Wednesday morning, Deputy Police Chief David Ervin said his initial investigation showed that a 911 call was never made to the department about gunfire in that neighborhood at that time. Deputy Chief Bryan Dawsey said later Wednesday that the continued investigation showed that between the hours of 4. and 7 p.m. Sunday, no 911 call was made to the department about a shooting in that area.

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Dawsey said he and investigators with the department went door to door in the neighborhood on Wednesday to talk to residents and conduct an investigation into the alleged gunfire. So far, the residents he talked to indicate they did not call 911 because they thought someone else had already called or would call and none of the residents could say who was responsible.

Ervin said the incident was reported to him on Monday by a concerned resident, which is when the department first became aware of the incident. That resident could not say what took place or who was involved, just that gunshots were heard in the area, Ervin said.

“That is a very serious problem that needs to be investigated fully, and we intend to investigate it to the fullest extent possible,” Ervin said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council was asked that the department increase patrols in the neighborhood, especially with the warmer weather coming up that increases outside activities. Ervin said  Wednesday the department received authorization for overtime to increase patrols in problem areas to prevent future incidents.

Even with increased number of patrols,  Ervin asks for the community’s continued assistance to help officers respond quickly to crimes.

“We certainly ask for the community’s support. Their eyes and ears are there when we are not,” Ervin said.

Dawsey said the department is attempting to find the person or persons responsible for the gunfire and who or what was being shot at.