Two Gunmen on the Run After Shootings in Gulfport
Yellow tape and blue lights marked the perimeter of a deadly crime scene outside M & S Convenience store Sunday night. The shooting left a 19 year old Gulfport resident, Raymond Hawze III dead, and police are still searching for his killer. Chief Leonard Papania of the Gulfport Police Department says, "We believe a black male, 5’6", 150 pounds, wearing a red hoodie and tan pants shot the victim."
While nearby residents told News 25 they didn’t want to do an on camera interview for fear of retaliation, witnesses did tell police the suspect fled in a 2008 Chevy Cobalt, and police say this crime could have been worse. Papania also says, "Another vehicle was struck by a bullet. Nobody was injured in that."
The M & S Convenience Store was the scene of just one of the shootings police responded to over the weekend, leading many Gulfport residents to be concerned for their safety and the safety of their families. Brian White, a concerned parent, says, "A bullet don’t have no name. It could have easily hit the wall, came through the ceiling, hit me, my daughter, or my girlfriend."
White was at the Ashton Park Apartments when another shooting broke out in Gulfport, just hours before the convenience store shooting. White also says, "I hear people talking about someone got shot, someone got shot, are the police on their way?"
Police were on the way and a resident was taken to the hospital with injuries from the shooting. While these injuries do not appear to be life threatening, the shooting hit a little too close to home for White and others who live in the area. White closes, "It was definitely a shock to me, something new around these parts, and I’m just confused because I didn’t hear any gunshots, my girlfriend didn’t hear any gunshots, and none of my neighbors heard anything, so I’m just confused and trying to figure everything out."
Meanwhile, police are looking for 24 year old Michael Dwayne Thornton Jr. in connection with the apartment shooting. There is no word yet on a possible motive. Gulfport Police ask if you have any information about either of these crimes, to call (228) 868-5959, or go to www.mscoastcrimestoppers.com.