Sunday In The Parking Lot With Bullets | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Sunday In The Parking Lot With Bullets

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A night of cruising went wrong Sunday night for two 21-year-old identical twins from Flora, when a bit of boisterous gun play left one of them dead and the other covered in blood driving around the city with Mayor Frank Melton looking for the people who killed his brother and perhaps wounded two other people.

The tragedy came about 9 p.m. Sunday night. In and around the business districts surrounding the Jackson Medical Mall, thick crowds of young people—many in their teens and 20s—take to the streets each week to see and be seen, cruising and hanging out. As usual, it was loud, and adrenaline ran high.

Like others, Calvin and Kevin Johnson—both of whom played football at Central Madison High School—were riding from spot to spot in a champagne-colored 1999 Ford Crown Victoria registered to Calvin Johnson and insured through Direct General Insurance, according to the insurance card later left lying on the passenger floorboard. They were choosing CDs with their Sony remote, and both had the 9mm guns they'd bought the day before at a local gun show lying in their laps.

A lot of the other cruisers had guns, too. By about 9 p.m., they'd all ended up in the Trustmark parking lot at the Jackson Medical Mall, just outside the Jackson State University School of Public Service, a sliver of a moon starting to appear overhead. Some were driving through, others were parked watching the action. Suddenly, someone started firing a weapon in the air for fun. Guns all over the parking lot were then lifted, all firing into the sky, Kevin later recalled, huddled in the front of the JPD's Mobile Command Center, as he related the story to Melton.

He said a red Chevrolet Tahoe then showed up. "They came into the parking lot with an AK-47 out the window," he said, choking back tears.

"Wait. You were firing guns into the sky, boy? What were you doing that for? Guns into the sky?" Melton was incredulous behind his bullet-proof vest. "What did you need a gun for?"

"To keep something like this from happening to us," Kevin responded, his short braids brushing his bare shoulders, blood drying all over his light-gray muscle shirt.

What happened is that his identical twin, Calvin, was shot in the head. As we go to press, investigators are working out details of exactly how that happened, but on Sunday night Kevin said that the bullet that killed his brother came from that red Tahoe truck. Bullets from one gun or another also struck two other people, who were rushed to the University Medical Center in a private car, leading to a panic at the hospital when rumors went out that people were shooting in the parking lot.

The Mobile Command Center originally arrived at the hospital amid pandemonium, with both city and state police trying to sort out what happened, and family members starting to crowd into the parking lot to find out what had happened to their loved ones. A crowd had gathered by the time Kevin ran into the emergency room and found out that his brother wasn't likely to survive. He burst out of the hospital exit screaming with pain, then hit the pavement and starting rolling around in agony.

"Nooooooooooo! Noooooooooo!"

Shortly afterward, Melton gathered him up and took him to the Command van. Inside, the mayor said he feared that someone might come looking for Kevin because he looked just like his twin—and he worried that the young man would go looking to retaliate for his brother's shooting.

With Kevin bloodied and hunched in the front, the JPD group then toured around the cruising hotspot areas for close to an hour, with Melton and bodyguards emerging to shine flashlights into cars and greet people in convenience stores.

Meantime, Kevin was talking to family members and had learned that his brother was on life support. His patience soon ran out on the search for the Tahoe. He wanted to go back and say goodbye to his brother. At a McDonald's, he jumped out of the van and ran away screaming, Melton following. The mayor rolled on the ground with him, hugging and restraining him, then put him back into the vehicle. The Command Center then returned to UMC, where Melton escorted Kevin and family members into the emergency room to say goodbye before doctors took Calvin off life support.

After Calvin died, the JPD Command group went to the scene of the crime, where investigators were wrapping up. There, Kevin told the details of what he remembered, about two hours after the shooting happened.

Part of his brother's brains, and much of his blood, were still fresh in the Medical Mall parking lot.

Previous Comments

ID
65831
Comment

heartbreaking and senseless...I feel like I should have something profound to say here...but nothing comes to me...and yet, it feels impossible to say/write nothing at all. What can we learn from this? How does something good come out of the loss of this precious life? Will anything good come out of it? I truly hope so...even though I have no clue what it might be. It is tough to see any light at all in something so dark. BKS

Author
BKS
Date
2006-04-05T19:48:25-06:00
ID
65832
Comment

With [email protected]# like this which goes on in this city far too often, I really don't blame the "white flighters" and "economic flighters" from leaving this place by the truckload. I'm so sick of the pathological, senseless evil that is so prevalent in west Jackson, and the lack of respect for human life and property among young people. If there is an answer for this mess, I'm not smart enough to come up with it.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-04-05T20:52:55-06:00
ID
65833
Comment

It is heartbreaking. The most difficult for me—and, in many ways, Melton—seemed to be that they were playing with guns like toys. I'll write more about this later, but he seemed surprised that they could get guns so easily -- an interesting stance, considering that he has said that we don't need to strengthen the state's gun laws in any way. He says now that are going to crack down on the guns; I'll keep you posted. He also said yesterday that the suspect lives in Madison County as well. The other night, Chief Anderson seemed very disgusted that the people involved had come in from Madison County to cause trouble. So it's hard to make this a Jackson thing. It's certainly no more disgusting, say, than the kid who got drunk at the reservoir, flew through a stop sign and killed five kids. However, it is tragic, tragic, tragic -- and we need to face head-on what is happening in our gun culture where guns are treated like toys—and these were "adults" involved in this, even if they were young. It's a hard nut to crack, but we need to be determined to crack it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-06T11:40:30-06:00
ID
65834
Comment

Eric Stringfellow's column today complains about Melton showing up in his police gear the other night at UMC. I certainly see his point, but I don't remember seeing Mr. Stringfellow that night. I do notice a factual problem with his column. He writes: Melton's 9mm was strapped to his side, he was wearing his black police T-shirt and sporting his baseball cap backwards. We were there the whole time and walked into the hospital with him both times the Command van pulled up to UMC (more details next issue), and he never flipped his cap around. I wonder where Mr. Stringfellow got that? Now, he certainly was wearing a bulletproof vest (as we were all, except Chief Anderson at that point), and he had his gun and his police cap. But it was never backward.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-06T11:54:09-06:00
ID
65835
Comment

I don't see this as a "gun culture" issue as that term usually applies to the NRA and I doubt any of those involved were NRA members. What gets me is the concept of "cruising" with a pistol in your' lap. This strikes me as more of a hip-hop/ gansta rap culture issue. Flame away on that statement since I'm just middle aged white guy that's carried a weapon professionally for 26 years. For the record, when I get off work, the pistol comes off.

Author
JLYerg
Date
2006-04-06T11:59:25-06:00
ID
65836
Comment

Looking past the horror of this story -- unfortunately, due to Ladd's writing skills, I actually felt as if I were there -- and in addition to enforcing our gun laws (and even getting some new ones!), we need to educate people about gravity. When a gun is shot in the air "for fun," that bullet comes down. And that bullet can kill. New Orleans has had a problem with people shooting guns in the air on New Year's Eve and, over the last 12 years or so, has undertaken an education and safety program on this issue. Even so, the police recommend that people be inside at midnight. While I agree that this is definitely not a Jackson issue -- the Johnsons and the alleged suspect are from South Madison County -- I do wonder why these people chose to go to Jackson to have their gathering. There was a JFP article a while ago about the at-times oppressive presence of the police in Ridgeland and Madison, particularly for male minority drivers. Is there a perception that cruising, having a gun, shooting in the air -- shooting period -- is easier to get away with in Jackson than the surrounding suburbs? [And yes, I know that a car is considered an extension of the house, so you can legally have a gun in your car. That just bothers me *a lot.*]

Author
Newt
Date
2006-04-06T12:17:41-06:00
ID
65837
Comment

And yes, I know that a car is considered an extension of the house, so you can legally have a gun in your car. That just bothers me *a lot.*” But I think the the law states that the firearm must be visible and not concealed while in a vehicle, which would have these young men obeying the law by having the guns in their laps. Random gun shots are an issue to a lot of residents throughout this city and as Newt has pointed out I should doubt most of those individuals committing this act either cares or understands the potential ramifications.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-04-06T13:07:01-06:00
ID
65838
Comment

But I think the the law states that the firearm must be visible and not concealed while in a vehicle, which would have these young men obeying the law by having the guns in their laps. I believe you're right. This is one of the laws that the last administration wanted to see toughened to help them take more weapons in such cases. From what I understand, these young men were carrying their guns legally. Food for thought. Random gun shots are an issue to a lot of residents throughout this city and as Newt has pointed out I should doubt most of those individuals committing this act either cares or understands the potential ramifications. True. And that's why I wrote this article as I did—graphically and personal, so that perhaps one or two people understand that guns are not toys. It's an interesting question. We can do whatever we can do to help the kids in Jackson—and kids from Madison buy legal guns and start shooting them in the air at the Medical Mall. This is quite the different scenario from the drive-by shooting story that was put out by media about this story Monday. That version requires a bit less soul-searching, eh? (You put me in a bulletproof vest, and this what you get. To hell with bullsh!t politics and "perception" and "thug" rhetoric -- what are we going to do?)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-06T14:41:03-06:00
ID
65839
Comment

This is heartbreaking and senseless. Glad to learn the truth of what happened. Why would anyone want to hang out with a crowd carrying guns? As a youngster I would have needed a sherman tank before having the nerves to ride with this crowd. I happen to believe bullets don't discriminate.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-04-06T17:28:42-06:00
ID
65840
Comment

"But I think the the law states that the firearm must be visible and not concealed while in a vehicle, which would have these young men obeying the law by having the guns in their laps." No. a firearm may be concealed in a car under MS law, unless it's changed recently and ATF didn't tell me. Keeping a weapon "at the ready" in your' lap tells me you expect to use it.

Author
JLYerg
Date
2006-04-07T01:03:42-06:00
ID
65841
Comment

that's why I wrote this article as I did—graphically and personal, so that perhaps one or two people understand that guns are not toys.” The article certainly should provide that much needed understanding. “ I do wonder why these people chose to go to Jackson to have their gathering.” For years young people from all over have come into Jackson to “cruise” or “gather”, although the locales have changed, from Lynch Street, Lake Hico Park, Veterans Stadium, South Drive, and a few others I may have forgotten.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-04-07T13:31:11-06:00
ID
65842
Comment

No. a firearm may be concealed in a car under MS law, unless it's changed recently and ATF didn't tell me.” Well I distinctly remember Councilman Crisler, during the previous administration, debating the moronic nature of officers having to approach vehicles and the occupants if armed being required to have the firearm in view and not concealed. Perhaps the law has changed in one regard or another since then.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-04-07T13:48:59-06:00
ID
65843
Comment

JLYerq: I don't see this as a "gun culture" issue as that term usually applies to the NRA and I doubt any of those involved were NRA members. What gets me is the concept of "cruising" with a pistol in your' lap. This strikes me as more of a hip-hop/ gansta rap culture issue. Flame away on that statement since I'm just middle aged white guy that's carried a weapon professionally for 26 years. For the record, when I get off work, the pistol comes off. I believe that your point is accurate, although it should be acknowledged that your reference to hip-hop would suggest that all hip-hop praises gun use. Gangsta rap does tend to have guns as a high-profile subject and a part of the music in hip-hop does also, but not all. I flame because of the lack of complete substance to how you form that opinion. Your point is well-taken, though. Those who do not form their own opinions well can take what was said and run with it. When people get shot at your school, in your neighborhood, etc, you start to believe that a gun is your answer. At some point in time you may end up using this gun. Belonging to the NRA for possessing guns is likened to belonging to ASHRAE for working on air conditioning equipment--status symbol. "Law-abiding" citizens possess guns with an intent to use them [if they have to]. Why did they feel that they needed guns? Because other people had guns, using them for varying negative reasons. You carried your gun professionally for a reason. Why? [Part of the answer which is of no disrespect to you: to cast an appearance of doom to any/all who would act against you] Because somebody else could possibly have a gun or other weapon harmful from a distance. Our answers to problems only increase the problems it seems. Guns are still being produced. Salesmen are reaping profits at gun shows. Seems nobody complains until people get shot. Then things get quieted down again. A lot of young, dumb, ignorant teenagers and young adults possess guns. Plenty of them haven't even pointed their guns at somebody out of anger or fear. Some do. This post doesn't say all that is out there, but it's a start.

Author
lilsoulja
Date
2006-04-07T15:23:31-06:00
ID
65844
Comment

I like to speak with brutal honesty: 1. The culture of violence in the black community will only be solved by the black community when it can't stand it anymore. Guns, teenage mothers, drugs, welfare, unwed mothers, absence of men in the black family, black men in prison, "undereducation," etc. are standard operating procedure. I'm still waiting for black "leaders" (Jessie Jackson, et. al) to chastise this sociopathy. I'll be dead before I hear this from black community leaders, especially black churches. Having babies without benefit of a job or a husband is standard operating procedure in the black community (70%). The white community is only half as bad (35%). It is a road map to poverty and sociopathy. As they say, if you want to be rich, do what the rich people do. If you want to be poor, do what the poor people do (have babies out of wedlock, have no husband, don't finish school, run with a gang, etc.) 2. Why on earth is Mayor Melton running around day and night with the chief of police (whom he has emasculated) wearing a flak-jacket in the Mobile Unit? Can you imagine Mayor Ditto, Mayor Danks, or Mayor Johnson in the same position? How unseemly. Can you imagine Mayor Giuliani doing this? What next--President Bush on a horse with a rifle running around the California/Mexico border shooting at crossovers? It's not "normal." HDMatthias, MD BTW--Donna Ladd should be congratulated for the terrific reporting for the JFP!

Author
HDMatthias, MD
Date
2006-04-08T15:09:14-06:00
ID
65845
Comment

Bill Cosby has attempted to address the black community around troubling issues....and received criticism for doing so....(no, he is not a local community leader, but he is a visible spokesman) http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/TV/11/11/cosby/ No, it isn't normal for Mayor Melton to acting as a member of the police force...and also, it doesn't strike me as normal for people to go around shooting each other either.... I'm curious to know how a normal approach to this problem might be effective? How do you approach something that has gotten so out of hand in a "normal" way? I think it's time to think outside the box on this one...and part of this will probably mean stepping away from being so focused on what has become traditionally known as being politically correct.

Author
BKS
Date
2006-04-08T17:13:20-06:00
ID
65846
Comment

The phrase "politically correct" has become so bastardized that it's meaningless. These days, too many people use it to apply to anyone who believes that members of society needs to take responsibility for, and step up to solve, the problems that society have created. And, yes, it is pretty well known around here that Bill Cosby has spoken out about the black community taking responsibility. Just don't forget the part where he has spoken out about the white community taking responsibility, as well as blasted people for lifting him out of context.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-08T17:26:02-06:00
ID
65847
Comment

Doc, many black leaders talk about what you spoke about above. Louis Farakan, a black leader to many, despite what most whites and some blacks think of him, has been criticising this behavior as long as I can remember. The church has been a miserable failure at chastising or preventing this behavior, in my opinion. I also think most black leaders are trying to help the people in those situations cope rather than making them consider suicide after the fact, so to speak. Certainly greater efforts are needed to prevent the cycle repeating itself over and over again. Lots of community efforts are being undertaken to do this too. More likely we're failing despite our efforts to succeed.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-04-10T08:55:07-06:00
ID
65848
Comment

"No, it isn't normal for Mayor Melton to acting as a member of the police force...and also, it doesn't strike me as normal for people to go around shooting each other either...." "I'm curious to know how a normal approach to this problem might be effective?"" EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!

Author
trusip
Date
2006-04-10T09:44:54-06:00
ID
65849
Comment

This is exactly what I was talking about when I commented on a previous article: Death to Dildos. Now the focus here was how sex toys are illegal in ms and how Melton and others are trying to strictly enforce this. What the hell? On every other corner I see a pawnshop billboard with the word GUNS commanding the attention of everyone who passes by, and we wonder why and how easy is for kids to get guns. People fail to realize just how easy it is to get a gun: legal or illegal period. HDMathias, MD wrote: I'm still waiting for black "leaders" (Jessie Jackson, et. al) to chastise this sociopathy. I'll be dead before I hear this from black community leaders, especially black churches." Correct me if I'm wrong but black leaders have and do "chastise this sociopathy." Just the other night I was watching Dr. Louis Farakan and listening to his message and it was very clear. In a nutshell our priorities need reassesment. What we are doing is not working and is heading us into nowhere. He talked about guns, violence, sex, materialism, all of that and more. But if i'm an illegal gun slanging "thug" who doesn't go to church, how would I get this message anyway? Growing up in a black church, leaders of my church congregation always warned and cautioned the youth about not only their actions and ways of living. But if the people who really need to hear the message are not in the congregation, what good would it do? I honestly feel time for chasting is over. We as a people know too much about what's going on, hell we see it everyday. It's time out for cheap talk and chastising and time for UNITY and ACTION. "The culture of violence in the black community will only be solved by the black community when it can't stand it anymore" -HDMathias,MD This is so true. UNITY and ACTION; easeir said than done, but that doesn't mean that it can't. This story is so sad but the truth in many cases. What's more saddening is the number of young people who feel the need to carry weapons to protect themselves. The proof lies in the numebr of shootings that have occurred within the last two weeks. It's frightening. Right about now I would love to see that program resurface: the one where people can turn their illegal guns over to police without being repremanded. It think that kind off helped some.

Author
jan2006
Date
2006-04-11T10:49:25-06:00
ID
65850
Comment

Curtis Mayfield, "If there's hell below", which I heard on the dead presidents soundtrack, said something to the effect of people talking about solutions, but when it's time to act, everybody's laying. I do not agree with the idea of leaving off of chastising, only because personal accountability is the first step to a resolve. I agree that it is time for unity and action, however. Action, in most instances, would require acknowledgement of "right and wrong." I understand your point, too. Churches and programs have chastised, possibly ineffectively, for a very long time. Similar to working out problems in the home, sometimes it takes a different approach than what has been tried before. Above all, persistence pays off. I should listen into what Farakhan has to say these days. In this day and age, we all hear leaders speak about current atrocities. Dependent on our beliefs or opinions about these individuals [perhaps based on their own indiscretions], we may choose to not listen to what these individuals would like to say. This is especially true in our U.S. political system. We do so much grouping where we actually believe that our mode of thought is right and others are wrong. Even if a church or the city were to target this group of young people, in an effort to help, there's an inherent disconnect that must be worked out through respect. As humans, we have limited ourselves in the patience we show to others. We feel that nothing is worth troubling ourselves more than we need to (disassociation of friends, funny looks/attitudes, unnecessary media attention, not to mention threats to livelihood). If we do take a step forward in inconveniencing ourselves, we accept the mentality that any had better appreciate the sacrifice that we are making. If we are to unite, we must learn to be unselfish. We must learn to be accountable for our actions and attitudes. We must also remain strong and firm in our individual beliefs for our own lives, so as not to abuse the "politically correct" jazz. I apologize to all for delving into spiritual matters, but as I see it, this is a fact of life. We make things harder for ourselves. When we acknowledge our individual contributions to life's swings [not to mention personal acknowledgement that we are one in the same--that is, humans are equal] then we may be more productive when it comes to actually working to resolve issues. Let's continue to act, without being overwhelmed with thoughts of doom. I think that that is a very destructive mentality to have. I love those who have the mind to fight against oppressors and oppressive thoughts/mentalities; however even those who fight incorporate a mentality that life is grim and, therefore, "live life like there is no tomorrow." Something how context is important when thinking about this statement.

Author
lilsoulja
Date
2006-04-11T14:31:25-06:00
ID
65851
Comment

"I do not agree with the idea of leaving off of chastising, only because personal accountability is the first step to a resolve."-lilsoulja wrote I totally agree. I'm not saying do away with chastising all together, my point is that I have heard black "leaders" chastise our black youth and the way of life that has been so easily accepted. It has an effect but minimal. And lilsoulja, you are right on point: "personal accountability is the first step to a resolve....Action, in most instances, would require acknowledgement of 'right and wrong.'" True. It goes further than just what is right and wrong though. There are people that are in certain circumstances that do wrong things for the right reasons but that still doesn't make it right. My point is that actions often speak louder than words. Imagine a black leader, let's say Jesse Jackson, visiting in a really rough poor neighborhood in Jackson. Now, would the people who knowingly live in these poor conditions everyday rather hear Jesse Jackson preach to them about what they should and could be doing (something they probably aleady know), or would they rather him and his coalition show them how to live the life he's talking about. Meaning: Provide life skills, provide young men with other opportunites to provide for their family other than selling drugs, teach the young ladies to respect themselves so they won't open their legs to any and everyman. Some of these people never really learned the correct way of doing things so it's going to take more than just chastising. If behavior is learned (i.e: babies having babies having babies) then how do we expect chastising to be the complete answer. We are going to have to in a sense teach all over again. Show them rather than tell them. Alot of the messages behind this "chastising" needs reinforcement through positive action. I'm not saying no more chastising, just less chastising and more action. A little chasiting ain't never hurt nobody, but do it while your trying to correct the behavior. Not while they can really just tune you out anyway, then your only waisting your breath.

Author
jan2006
Date
2006-04-11T15:36:14-06:00
ID
65852
Comment

I see your point more clearly and I agree that the path to change should be illustrated/demonstrated more than simply talking about the need for change. When showing, we need to show the positive outcomes and why it is worth striving, even though the surrounding environment doesn't seem to be ready to accept this change. What I'm saying is that the [people in the] world around us do not encourage this change. Would-be entertainers profit from sex and violence. This doesn't have to be what you see today; go back ten/twenty years and view the daytime dramas. It's all the same. I'm not attempting to look into these other issues, just pointing out another thought to myself. Humans tend to take on the mentality that if others are doing bad, there's no need in me trying to be better. We know that mentality that good guys come last. Perhaps that is a good theme to focus on? Unveiling the false in that thinking? baaaah

Author
lilsoulja
Date
2006-04-12T07:23:04-06:00
ID
65853
Comment

lilsoulja you wrote: "...[people in the] world around us do not encourage this change. Would-be entertainers profit from sex and violence." This is comment is right on point. Alot of people don't encourage this change because they are afraid of it, plus money talks.

Author
jan2006
Date
2006-04-12T13:35:58-06:00
ID
65854
Comment

This might be out of context, but I wonder how many rappers would rise to the challenge of making an entire album on promoting change and positivity...not just on one song either, but a whole album. I'm not placing all blame on rap music, but it is a very popular creative outlet that affects alot of people. We know sex and violence sells, as you stated earlier, i just wonder what kind of impact this type of change could have, if any.

Author
jan2006
Date
2006-04-12T13:40:20-06:00
ID
65855
Comment

Touching on the legality of guns in cars question again, MS Code 97-37-1-2 "It shall not be a violation of this section for any person over the age of 18 to carry a firearm concealed within the confiness of his own home..or within any motor vehicle" However under case law for this section, "Carrying of a pistol is within prohibition of statute where the weapon is so carried that it is readily accessible" Unholstered in your' lap is a no-go

Author
JLYerg
Date
2006-04-13T10:25:57-06:00

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