Suspects Still At Large, Crimes Against Persons on the Rise, Seeking Solutions | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Suspects Still At Large, Crimes Against Persons on the Rise, Seeking Solutions

JPD urges anyone with information on (left to right) Anthony Harris, Kendrick Morris, Shawn Trotter or any crime tips to call the Jackson Police Department at 601-960-1234 or 601-355-TIPS.

JPD urges anyone with information on (left to right) Anthony Harris, Kendrick Morris, Shawn Trotter or any crime tips to call the Jackson Police Department at 601-960-1234 or 601-355-TIPS.

— After a relatively low crime season, this past weekend began a very tense week for the city of Jackson. On Saturday evening, two Hispanic men, Daniel Omar Gomez and Eli Nunez, were shot and killed, along with a dog, during an apparent robbery while they were grilling in their front yard on South Westhaven Drive in west Jackson. The Jackson Police Department has identified Anthony Harris as a suspect, and he has been charged with two counts of capital murder. More arrests and charges are possible.

Later Saturday night, a shooting at Fuel Time gas station at 4556 Siwell Road left one man, Terrance Durr, dead and another injured. JPD says the victim "had an altercation" with suspect Kendrick Morris who produced a gun, shot Durr multiple times and fled the scene by foot. Morris has been charged with one count of murder and one count of aggravated assault and is still at large.

On Thursday, March 10, JPD Officer Abe Gines responded to a call of an armed robbery at 220 Edgewood Terrace Apartments. Suspect Rashad R. Caston shot and wounded Gines. Then on Friday afternoon, Caston turned himself in at police headquarters and has been charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, attempted armed robbery of an individual and burglary of an occupied dwelling.

On Feb. 19, a shooting in a west Jackson parking lot near the intersection of West Northside Drive and Sunset Boulevard. left Howard Blackmon dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest. During the investigation, JPD found that the victim was not involved in the altercation that occurred in the parking lot, and two suspects, Maurice Dent and Erik Johnson were arrested and charged with murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Upon further investigation, JPD have identified a third suspect involved in the case, 30-year-old Shawn Trotter. Trotter is charged with murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber this week announced a new Criminal Justice Reform Task Force to address the core issues around crime in the city, including reducing recidivism and providing options for those who leave the criminal-justice system without rehabilitation. The City shouldn’t just respond to crimes, but actively work to prevent it, he said.

"We recognize the need to promote social awareness regarding the causes and consequences of crime. We also further recognize our responsibility for developing strategies for prevention of crime and our need to provide economic and social opportunities for those who have come through the criminal justice system," Yarber said at the press conference.

Year-to-date, major crimes have decreased in all precincts 17.2 percent over the same period in 2015. Property crimes have decreased, but violent crimes against persons have increased 7.4 percent over 2015. Aggravated assault is up 9.2 percent year-to-date, armed robberies are up 8.3 percent, carjackings are up 24 percent and homicide, including 5 murders from the past weekend, have increased 42.9 percent, all year-to-date. Rape is down 47.1 percent, year-to-date.

The mayor addressed violent crime in a long Facebook post today, in which he expressed frustration with a tough week in Jackson. "Doesn't matter that crime went down last year, and the murder rate dropped," he wrote. "If you don't FEEL safe on your porch, then you are NOT safe. When 6 people are killed over 5 days, that discredits the stats."

Yarber said the City is putting more cops on the streets, and need citizens' help. "So, we have found a way to potentially put an additional 40 officers on the streets to beef up presence/visibility. We are re-engaging YOU to help us help each other. We have initiated TIPS411 so you can annonymously text us what you think we need to know. Crime has to get better. In South Jackson, where I live, shootings outside of the house have to stop. And Chief Vance is working on it," he said.

JPD urges anyone with information on Anthony Harris, Kendrick Morris, Shawn Trotter or any crime tips to call the Jackson Police Department at 601-960-1234 or 601-355-TIPS.

Also see: Inside "Mason's Inn": Life, Lockup and Learning Inside the Raymond Jail

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