COLUMBUS, MISS. (WCBI) – Anger and grief gripped a Columbus neighborhood Wednesday night in the aftermath of a shooting that has left a man dead and a community outraged.
“It is emotional. Our officers did a great job of showing restraint,” says Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton. “We could have made some arrests but we understand the dynamics of the situation. Someone has lost a family member. They’re upset, they’re crying, they’re hurt.”
Columbus Police say 20-year-old Frank Edwards was sitting with four friends Wednesday in the 1300 block of 12th Avenue South. Sometime around 9 p.m. police say a car pulled up, leading to an argument that erupted into a shootout.
“We were chilling at home when we heard some noises,” says Theresa Davis, who lives nearby. “Naturally, this time of year, we think it’s firecrackers cause of the New Year.”
The Lowndes County Coroner says Edwards was shot and killed at the scene while another man was injured. The second victim was later released from the hospital.
“The suspect fired at the group that was there in the yard and a person that was there in the yard fired back at the person that was shooting at them,” says Chief Shelton.
Police say a gray or dark-colored Mazda with tinted windows fled the scene driven by a heavy-set African-American male with a passenger wearing a white t-shirt.
“They would be armed and dangerous,” Chief Shelton warns.
Investigators say that while they are unsure what started the argument, they believe the shooter and Edwards knew each other.
“We just don’t have people that’s randomly just going down the street and just shooting a bunch of people,” says Chief Shelton. “These are people that had prior relationships that had some kind of contact in the past or had an altercation.”
Chief Shelton says there were close to 12 officers on-scene investigating and keeping a crowd of onlookers back from the crime-scene.
“I’m hoping that the initial shock of what happened has kind of calmed some people down and they’ll be facing reality and hopefully, they’ll understand that a life has been taken,” says Chief Shelton. “And there’s somebody out there that took that life and that we need to let the wheels of justice turn and bring that person to justice.”
Chief Shelton says investigators were back at the scene Thursday to continue the investigation during the morning and afternoon while speaking again with witnesses. He says they will be speaking with a person of interest in the case who was caught in Alabama and are reviewing video of the suspects’ vehicle.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Columbus Police (662-244-3552) or Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers (662-494-0109).