STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Two days after the double shooting in Starkville that left two men dead, city leaders took action to try and protect residents from gun violence.
“In my 12 years, I’ve always been concerned about (violent crime) and I have made the statement numerous times that it was going to take a tragedy for us to react and get involved and do what we need to do,” said Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn.
Alderman Vaughn says gun violence has been a problem for Starkville long before the deadly shooting that claimed the lives of his nephew and another 32-year-old man, Wednesday evening.
That’s why he says he is so grateful that Mayor Lynn Spruill and Starkville Police installed a surveillance camera in that neighborhood on Friday.
“You have a place that needs to have some attention right now,” Mayor Spruill said. “Then right now is what we do. So we’re getting it done.”
The camera was installed on the telephone pole that directly overlooks the spot where the two men were struck by gunfire. 32-year-old Justin Vaughn died at OCH Regional Medical Center that night while 32-year-old Earnest Perkins Jr., died Thursday at a Jackson hospital.
The mayor and Police Chief Mark Ballard say they wanted to take immediate action before this happens to somebody else.
“We have tried the same techniques for some time and it’s simply not working,” Chief Ballard said. “The police cannot be everywhere at all times.”
Mayor Spruill says the city has two more cameras they hope to install in other parts of Starkville within the week.
“In this case, we were very fortunate that we had some cameras that were available that are going to go around the community in other locations,” she said.
Chief Ballard says the Jackson Police department saw crime drop 51 percent in areas they employed similar surveillance methods.
“Through the use of technology, we’ll be able to place a 24-hour presence, that is needed.”
Alderman Vaughn agrees that the time is now to ramp up crime prevention so that children in that neighborhood don’t have to be afraid to play outside.
“I want them to grow up and be able to be a child and be able to say they lived a child’s life,” he said. “The rate they’re going now, we’ll lose a whole generation.”
Chief Ballard says his investigators believe they have a good idea of what happened the night of the shooting but are waiting on lab results and getting additional statements from witnesses before they release any more information to the public.