Tragic news out of Gulfport this morning with a hit and run leaving one person dead and four more sent to the hospital. The suspect is still at large.
Gulfport Police say this fatal hit and run happened around 5:15 a.m. as the victims were waiting for the CSL Plasma Center on Highway 49 to open.
A white van can be seen on surveillance footage driving onto the side walk, striking five people and continuing to go straight through into the next parking lot where multiple plumbing tools fell out of the back. Gulfport Police PIO Jason Ducré said “Five individuals, four of them were seriously injured and transported to a local hospital. One was pronounced dead at the scene. As the van fled the scene, several tools fell out of the back of the van.”
According to Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer, the woman pronounced dead on scene has been identified as 60-year-old Doris Ducksworth of Gulfport. Her cause of death is blunt force trauma.
Wayne Gangitano says he comes to the center at least twice a week and just missed the tragedy. “I am absolutely shocked to be quiet honest with you. It’s something that you would never expect, never expect at all to happen here.”
Others who work and live in this area are left shaken. Days Inn Manager Carla Johnson said, “It’s just kind of scary. It’s close to home. You have five people standing in a parking lot and somebody just drives through the parking lot. You can’t tell me you can’t see that. So, yeah, kinda scary.”
Thanks to a community member calling in the tip, the van was found hours later at the Westside Shell Gas Station less than a mile north of the scene of the crime. Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said, “We meet so many successes in our community because of people stepping forward and helping us. Today is definitely a day where we need that help.”
Gulfport police are asking for your help in finding the suspect or sharing any information you may have that will help their investigation. You can reach them at 228-868-5900.