Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves soon will receive a resolution from the Leflore County Board of Supervisors strongly requesting his aid in obtaining state, and federal, assistance in quelling the rash of gun violence infecting the county.
The board unanimously backed making the formal request during a meeting Monday. District 3 Supervisor Anjuan Brown made the motion, which was seconded by the board’s president, District 5 Supervisor Robert Collins. Joyce Chiles, the board’s attorney, said she would have a resolution ready for review and signatures at the board’s meeting next Monday.
Its members had discussed how to provide fast action to prevent additional deaths.
“We need to do something in a hurry,” Collins said. “Whatever we do, we need do it now — now!”
On July 29, the board declared an official state of emergency due to shooting deaths. At that time, there had been 12 homicides in Greenwood and Leflore County this year, including 11 that involved guns.
The total has nearly doubled in the past three months. Over the weekend in Greenwood, two people died in a mass shooting that also injured eight others, and two people were injured in a second shooting.
The homicide total for the year from the city and county on Monday stood at 22, including 21 people who had been shot to death. There were 11 homicides in 2019.
Collins said he went to the scene of the mass shooting, which was on Saturday night, and “saw firsthand what was going on.” Local law enforcement, he asserted, is being “outmanned” and “outgunned.”
Undersheriff Ken Spencer said the Sheriff’s Department and the Greenwood Police Department are combining forces to prevent violence and investigate suspects. “We are trying to keep our subdivisions patrolled and trying to keep it down where we can,” Spencer said.
He had been listening as supervisors discussed efforts to attract state and federal support. Spencer said he understands this would require providing more information to other authorities about what is going on.
District 2 Supervisor Reginald Moore wanted to know what would “push it to the next level.
“How tall of a ladder do we need to get over the fence?” he asked.
Fred Randle, the county emergency management director, said state and federal agencies would respond to a request for aid by asking to look at the local plan. “They are going to want you to have a plan,” he explained.
Moving in that direction would involve initiating the effort and formulating the plan before it finally is activated, he said.
The board appeared to agree that plan would have to be made by city and county law enforcement agencies. Collins suggested that a join plan of action possibly could be put together prior in time to accompany the resolution to the governor’s desk.
Chiles was asked what federal help might mean. She mentioned federal marshals and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents, as well as the National Guard.
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