‘They’re all connected’: Multiple shootings injure 2 women, 1 child in Wayne County

Wayne County investigating 3 shootings
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 4:37 PM CDT
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WAYNE COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - The Wayne County community is reeling after three separate shootings sent two women and a four-year-old boy to the hospital on Friday morning. These are just the latest shootings in the county’s ongoing battle against gun violence.

Around midnight, a hail of bullets rained down on a residence along County Lake Denim Road. The shooter(s) released 30 rounds into the home and car, hitting a four-year-old boy in the back as he was lying near the TV.

Wayne County Sheriff Jody Ashley said deputies were on the scene within minutes. They immediately began administering emergency aid to the boy until medical personnel could airlift him to the children’s hospital in Jackson. Ashley said the boy was in critical condition.

Less than an hour after this first shooting, dispatch reported shots fired at a trailer park along Reservoir Road.

The sheriff, Chief Deputy Jason Wiggins and three patrol deputies responded to the scene of the second shooting. They found two women suffering from gunshot wounds to their lower bodies.

Vanessa Robinson later identified the women as her daughter, 33-year-old Little Krystal Robinson, and her daughter’s fiance, 28-year-old Kristen Hayes.

“This is my baby that’s lying over here suffering with gunshot wounds,” said Vanessa Robinson. “My daughter, having to suffer for someone else being ignorant.”

Little Robinson and Hayes were initially transported to Wayne General Hospital before being transferred to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. Vanessa said they were both in stable condition.

As deputies were working on the scene of the second shooting, they were called back to the location of the first when the shooter(s) returned to the property and released 30 additional rounds into the house and car. No injuries were reported in this second attack.

However, the violence wasn’t over in Wayne County.

Later that morning, Vanessa Robinson’s other daughter, Kandice Lampley, and a friend were picking up breakfast for Little Robinson’s children when someone shot at their car while driving down the road.

Lampley said she saw a vehicle on the side of the road with a woman at the wheel and two men outside the vehicle. The two men allegedly opened fire on Lampley’s car as she passed.

Lampley immediately drove to the sheriff’s office to report the incident once she determined she and her friend were uninjured.

“I think they’re all connected,” said Chief Deputy Wiggins. “I believe it’s gang-related, drugs or both.”

According to Wiggins, there have been dozens of drive-by shootings in Wayne County over the last several months that have a similar M.O. He said that almost all involved some combination of three types of guns: an AK-47, a 9mm and a 2-2-3 round capacity gun believed to be an AR-15 due to the number of rounds.

In fact, this was not the first time Lampley, Little Robinson and Hayes have been the victims of shootings in the county.

Little Robinson and Hayes’ trailer was previously targeted in a drive-by shooting in November 2022, and Lampley’s home was targeted in a drive-by in February 2023.

“It’s ongoing, ongoing,” said Lampley.

Video of blown-out windows at the home of Kandice Lampley following a shooting.
Video of bullet holes in the kids' room at the home of Kandice Lampley following a shooting.

The continuous string of violence has taken its toll on the community, and Vanessa Robinson said they are tired of living in fear.

“I want justice, and I want it now,” she said. “I am somebody, my baby is somebody, and other victims are somebody. We might not be who you want us to be, but we are somebody. And I want justice...

“Here, people can’t even get a restful night of sleep in their own homes, wondering if a bullet is going to come through their window or through their family’s head. It’s just ridiculous. You cannot even go to sleep in your own home, wondering if you are going to make it from the next hour to the next day.”

It isn’t just members of the community, however, that are feeling the weight of these shootings.

Wiggins said he thinks about the victims daily, especially the kids.

“Stop shooting homes full of kids,” he said. “This is getting really bad, with kids sleeping under beds scared of getting shot... A few months ago, we responded to a shooting where two young boys were shot. We administered life-saving techniques on the seven-year-old, pushed his guts back inside him.”

He said working on that seven-year-old was a horrific experience that he’d never forget.

“It’s one thing when an adult is shot,” said Wiggins. “But a child getting shot is just shocking. It hits you hard.”

Sheriff Ashley and Vanessa Robinson both said that dealing with these shootings is especially difficult because they keep going unsolved.

Vanessa Robinson said she believes the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office isn’t doing enough.

“Every time they (Wayne County Sheriff’s Office) come out, it’s like they’re not concerned,” she said. “They’re not concerned about the citizens of Wayne County... If it would have been drugs involved in Wayne County, there would have been some solving going on.”

Ashley, however, said he is using every available resource at his disposal - from roadblocks looking for the weapons involved to approaching witnesses in an unmarked car - and that he has also requested assistance from both state and federal agencies, including:

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Mississippi Bureau of Investigation
  • Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics
  • Mississippi Highway Patrol
  • Sheriff offices in Jones, Perry, Greene, Washington and Choctaw counties
  • Waynesboro Police Department

“As the sheriff, I’m reaching out to other agencies because there are very few of us (WCSD personnel),” said Ashley. “I’ve essentially given them the key and said come on out.”

He believes that the cases won’t be solved until someone from the community steps forward with information.

“When you’re working a case and cannot get any information, it’s hard to solve the case,” said Ashley. “CrimeStoppers is offering up to a $1,000 reward for any information that will help... I want to get it solved... I’m ready to go kick in any door we need to kick in to get them (suspects).”

Wiggins said that he, too, has had several cases where the victims or witnesses won’t cooperate with law enforcement.

“Without cooperation, we can’t solve them,” he said. “Come speak with any deputy in person. Leave information at the station unannounced; slip it under the door.”

While no information has led to an arrest or named suspect, several community groups have tried to organize to address the issues of gang and gun violence in the county.

Lampley said whatever the solution, the violence has got to stop.

“It’s time for a change,” she said. “All y’all young kids out here with these guns, it is time for a change. We cannot bring back anybody that done left us. We cannot bring them back. But the ones that are here, all y’all young kids - boys and girls - please put down the weapons. Please put down the guns... Cause everybody loves their kids, their brothers, their sisters. We can’t bring back nobody. But the ones that are here, that’s still here with us - please y’all. Please stop this. Stop the violence. Please stop the violence.”

Ashley said all three of the Friday morning shootings are under investigation, and no arrests have been made at this time.

Anyone with information pertaining to any of the recent shootings in Wayne County should contact the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office at (601) 735-2323 or Wayne County CrimeStoppers at 601-735-LEAD. Tips can be made anonymously.

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