Family and friends of Leflore County’s two latest homicide victims are grieving over their losses while also grappling with the problem of gun violence, which continues to affect many people’s lives throughout the Greenwood area.
“I miss him. I miss him real bad,” Betty Montgomery said of her son, Larry Montgomery.
Montgomery and William McGee Jr. both died from gunshot wounds Thursday night after being shot on the 100 block of East Johnson Street, according to Greenwood police. The block is located at the street’s intersection with Main Street.
Deputy Police Chief Marvin Hammond said police received a call about shots fired around 9:30 p.m. At the scene, officers came across the two victims, Montgomery and McGee, lying in the street.
Montgomery was pronounced dead at the scene by Pafford EMS, Hammond said.
McGee was transported to Greenwood Leflore Hospital, where he died.
Both men were 34 and residents of Greenwood. Each had been shot multiple times, Leflore County Coroner Debra Sanders said.
Margaret Maggitt, a cousin of Montgomery’s, said her cousin “was a friendly person.
“He always was looking to help people,” she said. “Always found a way to make everybody laugh.”
Montgomery’s family members said he liked to wash cars and dance at a Greenwood nightclub and restaurant.
Tajuana Yates, McGee’s girlfriend, said Sept. 24 would have marked their third anniversary.
McGee also liked to wash cars and had his own car detail shop in Greenwood, Yates said.
“He had a good personality. He’d help anybody that needed help,” Yates said. “He was just fun to be around.”
Montgomery and McGee were childhood friends who stuck together like glue, according to Yates and Montgomery’s family.
They said neither man deserved to be shot; they happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Why did they have to do him like that?” Betty Montgomery asked.
Yates said her boyfriend was a good person who “wouldn’t mess with anybody.”
The investigation into their deaths is ongoing, Hammond said. As of Friday afternoon, no one had been arrested or charged.
Hammond said anyone with information should call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or call the Police Department at 453-3311 and ask to speak with an investigator.
Leflore County’s homicide count reached 16 with the men’s deaths, exceeding last year’s count by five.
Fifteen of this year’s homicides involved guns; 10 of the 11 homicides last year involved guns.
Since June 10, 26 people have been shot in 22 incidents in the Greenwood area, according to the Police Department and the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department. Nine of the 26 who were shot died from their wounds.
An onslaught of shooting incidents in June, which included three deaths and injuries to several people, led to the creation of one anti-gun-violence group, Operation Peace Treaty.
From July until earlier this month, Operation Peace Treaty surveyed people from seven locations throughout the Greenwood area to assess their thoughts on gun violence and other issues.
The findings from the survey revealed that many residents in the Greenwood area fear gun violence and believe that local leaders and law enforcement need to do more to curb the violence.
Charles Magic, who considered Montgomery to be his son, said there are more mothers and fathers throughout the community who have lost their children to gun violence than just himself and Betty Montgomery.
He urged the various people and communities afflicted by gun violence to come together to protest against it.
“We are hurting. We are grieving,” Magic said.
Magic also urged law enforcement to do a better job deterring future fatal shootings by filing charges against perpetrators. When a person is not charged, Magic said, that person can commit more shootings.
Until then, the family of Larry Montgomery fears more fatal shootings are to come.
“I just want to get the killings off the streets,” his mother said. “We don’t know who’s going to be next.”
• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.