Crime scene tape and police cars blocking city streets are becoming an all too familiar scene in the Hub City in 2016.
The city has recorded three homicides since Jan. 1, and authorities are citing domestic violence as the reason.
“For the citizens, we don’t want them being alarmed or anything to say its random acts of violence that’s going around the city or someone causing this type of crime isn’t correct,” Hattiesburg Police Lt. Detective Branden McLemore said. “Each one of these homicides has been domestic related.”
The latest incident in the city came before dawn Friday.
Crime scene tape blocked a portion of the 300 block of South 12th Avenue marking the scene of what police are calling a domestic related stabbing.
“Officers had a female that was very irate, and was taken into custody at that time,” McLemore said. “Shortly after they discovered a male victim inside the house that was suffering from what appeared to be multiple stab wounds.”
Neighbors gathered along the street and in their driveways to watch the scene unfold.
“These are not incidents that are just random acts of violence, no gang relation; these are basically people being in for the holidays and everything else, being in their homes and being in close contact or being under the influence of some type of intoxicating substance,” McLemore said.
On Jan. 1, Anna Griffith, 39, was shot in the chest and killed at Dumas Apartments & Hotel off Broadway Drive. Within minutes, police arrested Theopolis Schaffer, 64, at the scene and cited a domestic altercation as the contributing factor.
On Jan. 2, Kelly Ladner, 37, died from “blunt force trauma” in her home on Myrtle Street. Police arrested her boyfriend, Joe Michael Shaw Jr., 34, and also cited domestic violence as the contributing factor.
On Jan. 6, Nicholas Brown, 35, died from “blunt force trauma” inside his home on Montague Street. Police arrested his roommate, Steven Armstrong, 46, and again, cited a domestic dispute as the contributing factor.
“We want people to be aware of these kinds of incidents, because people do know if there are domestic problems that exist,” McLemore said.
McLemore added that this type of crime is something that really cannot be policed.
“It isn’t something that we can really monitor, we can’t put an officer somewhere and just happen to get lucky that a domestic incident occurs,” McLemore said. “But we do have numbers and contacts that we can pass along to help those people out that are involved in these types of situations before it turns to something worse.”
If you or anyone you know is involved in a situation where domestic violence is an issue, contact your local law enforcement agency for help.