Gulfport’s Fifth Homicide in 2015

In 2014, eight homicides were reported in the city of Gulfport. Now, nearly four months into 2015, and the city has already seen five fatal shootings. During a press conference today, Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania asserted, “That kind of activity has got to stop, we have got to stop living in such a way where we allow for this stuff to happen."

 

A visibly upset Papania says the crimes do not reflect the good image of Gulfport, but rather a criminal subculture that’s tarnishing it.

 

Sunday night’s shooting at Ashton Park Apartments was the matter of a man trying to protect his girlfriend and toddler; while Saturday’s shooting death on 34th street was the result of a drug deal gone badly.

 

After five shootings in Gulfport already this year, those in the community as well as officials say it has to stop.

 

“This is like a little knit family right here. Everybody speaks and gets along, and I just can’t believe that it happened like that," says Gulfport resident Shun McClem.

    

Chief Papania is asking the community to come to the police with any details. “I’m sick and tired of hearing this ‘No snitching, don’t work with the police,’ and it’s the same group of people who will come belly aching about how good of a person these criminals were right before they died. And it’s sad because we shouldn’t be losing these good people to crime."

 

Gulfport resident, Shun McClem, who lives on 34th Street, believes change will not occur until police and the community develop a better relationship. “Communication, if they communicate better maybe they will get a better response from the community," says McClem.

 

While police have started developing stronger community watch programs, law enforcement and residents agree the key to combatting violence in the city — is a stronger relationship between authorities and those they protect.

Categories: Local News, News

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