Just 15 minutes after the colorful floats rolled down the streets of Pass Christian for this year’s St. Paul Carnival Association Mardi Gras Parade, the celebration turned into chaos.
Celeste Plaisance said, “I was sitting on the front porch with my step dad and his friend and we were just watching the crowd,just people watching and all of a sudden the shots started ringing out. We thought it was fire crackers at first then quickly realized it was gunshots.”
Pass Christian Police Department received a call about multiple shots fired at the intersection of Davis Avenue and Ladnier Street.”One lady like heard one hit a stop sign right behind her head just across the tracks over there.So. it seemed like it was pretty spread out,” said Plaisance.
The series of bullets left two Gulf Coast residents dead on the scene.
Harrison county Coroner Gary Hargrove identified the two victims as 29-year-old Carlos Bates of Gulfport and 43-year-old Isaiah Major the Third of Bay St. Louis.
Tiffany Spencer, cousin of victim Isaiah Major, said “You know the kids are hurt. She’s hurt. His girlfriend was in the car with him and they had another friend with him in the back seat of the car. You know just a few months ago, just a few months ago we lost another youngster and it wasn’t even a parade. Just guns. Gotta stop.”
Four others, who were nearby at the time, suffered gunshot wounds and were transported to Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Pass Christian Police Chief Tim Hendricks tells News 25, “After a parade, any parade, you do have some people who have been drinking and some other things, fights do occur. I don’t want to say it’s a natural thing but again, you do have quite a few altercations after a parade.”
The motive behind this sporadic shooting is still unclear.”It’s a horrible thing to happen after a parade like this but again we’re going to do our job that we’re supposed to do and we’re going to find out who’s responsible,” said Hendricks.
Local residents tell News 25 the neighborhood is typically safe and quiet area, even during carnival season.”We watched it from right here last year. There was no problems. It was the same crowd but nothing got ugly by any means. So we didn’t expect anything like this,” said Plaisance.