HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A recent shooting death in Hattiesburg is sparking conversation among city leaders.
The Hattiesburg Police Department is investigating the Tuesday night shooting death of 36-year-old Willie Jermaine Walker. Police responded to the shooting on Franklin Street around 11:15 p.m.
Now, Ward 5 Councilman Nicholas Brown is speaking out about violence in the city.
“Like I said, I would see him [Walker] often,” Brown said. "He spoke every time, seemed to be in good spirits every time I saw him. I just hate to see what happened for him, for his family and I just pray we get a suspect sooner rather than later and justice comes to the family.”
Brown said he’s noticed an increase in violent crime in Hattiesburg in the last few years.
“I’ve been in Hattiesburg my entire life and I’ve never seen the things I’m seeing," Brown said. "It’s disappointing. It’s disgraceful for our community, and I want to see better out of Hattiesburg because this is not the Hattiesburg way.”
Brown suggested a few ways to combat crime going on in the city.
“We need to beef up a little bit on community. See what we can do with the summer job program for our kids. We need to look into more programs for our youth,” Brown said.
Hattiesburg has seen 30 homicides since the beginning of 2017 – Brown wants to see that number drop.
“This is a serious issue in my opinion, you know, some people may say ‘isolated incidents,’ some people may say it’s been going on, but I’ve been here and it hasn’t been going on,” Brown said.
At community workshop scheduled for Monday the city will address violent crime, with Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker in attendance.
The search for Walker’s killer continues. If you have any information, you are encouraged to reach out to Hattiesburg police or Metro Crime Stoppers at 601-582-7867.