HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Police Department held a news conference Friday to address the public about recent shootings that took place in the city.
Chief Anthony Parker began the news conference by addressing city safety.
“I’m going to ensure that – our city – is a safe city." Parker said. "Each of these incidents, stands alone as an isolated spontaneous incident of violence. Know that we consider even one homicide to be too many within the city limits of Hattiesburg.”
Parker mentioned that two recent homicides involved gang members, one stemming from an internal gang issue and the other involving a gang from a different area. He stressed that HPD have arrested all the individuals believed to be involve in the matters.
The first shooting happened on July 20 at the Steelman Grocery store on 600 block of Eastside Avenue where store owner Lisa Nguyen was found shot inside the store and later died from her injuries at a local hospital.
Stephon Hart, Christopher Tyce, Jaytran Tuggle, Eric Williams and Jaquarious Randle are the suspects charged in the homicide. All five men are from the Jackson area.
Hart, Tyce, Tuggle and Williams were charged with capital murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and criminal street gang activity. Randle is currently only facing a hindering prosecution charge and other charges have been forwarded to the district attorney’s office for presentation to a grand jury.
Capt. Branden McLemore also addressed the homicide investigation of Lisa Nguyen.
“The reason these suspects would commit such a heinous act is not known, however it is believed that the suspects are responsible for several other robberies that occurred in the Jackson community." McLemore said. "These investigations are ongoing.”
The second homicide police addressed was the shooting that took place in the 900 block of Broadway Drive on August 13.
Officers found two vehicles wrecked at a gas station across Broadway Drive where they found Corey Chatman, of Hattiesburg, with a gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Doreion Balam and Issacc Terrell are the two men believed responsible for the murder of Chatman and are in custody at the Forrest County Jail.
McLemore said that investigators revealed that the victim and suspects are known members of the “74 Hoover” gang, prompting the department to believe the shooting was an internal dispute.
Parker later discussed how the public is now being made more aware of the gang activity in the city.
“In this way, the public becomes more involved in helping the Hattiesburg Police Department solve crimes, be aware of what’s going on in neighborhoods, and what to look for when they are out and about in the city.” Parker said.
Parker then reiterated the statement he made about the city being safe and how HPD will not tolerate senseless violence and disregard for human life.
“I want every criminal element to know, if you choose to engage in criminal activity in this city, you will be found. “said Parker.
The news conference ended with Parker saying people should not come to Hattiesburg and expect to get away with something because HPD will come for them.
“So, I warn you, don’t come here and expect to get away with something, cause we are going to get you,” Parker said.