Starkville city leaders ensure public safety at parks

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- A baseball game was taking place at McKee Park during Monday’s shooting– putting everyone in attendance in a state of panic one witness said.

A few parents even took to Facebook to express their shock and disbelief.

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Starkville City leaders say the public has nothing to worry about as far as safety.

Waneppe Halsey has been a Starkville resident for almost 10 years.

She says she brings her two granddaughters Kassidy and Kali to McKee Park 3 to 4 times a month.

“The two-year-old, she loves to swing as you can see, and the one-year-old, she can’t walk, so she likes to slide or whatever she can get in to,” said Halsey.

Halsey said she heard about Monday’s shooting, but didn’t realize it happened at her family’s favorite park.

“I was really surprised that it happened at this park because it’s a very popular park,” said Halsey.

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said the city is equally surprised.

“From the city’s perspective, we are extremely distressed that someone would take that kind of action during what would be a sporting event,” said Spruill.

Spruill said the park is still a great place to bring your family.

“This was a random incident, and it’s rare. It’s never happened before. I don’t know that I can say that it’ll never happen again, but it certainly won’t be happening because we haven’t addressed it,” said Spruill.

When it comes to addressing the issue, Spruill said the city’s new surveillance cameras will play a major role.

“What the city does as a response is validate for the residents our use of the security cameras, which have been a point of discussion now for a few weeks since we installed them. They will certainly prove to be useful in an incident such as this. So, I’m very glad that we had those in place,” said Spruill.

Some park goers, like Halsey and her granddaughters, don’t think the cameras are a bad idea.

“Of course police can’t be everywhere every time, but I see that they do have a lot of cameras around Starkville now, and I don’t think it would hurt to have one out here,” said Halsey.

With or without the cameras, Spruill said there will definitely be more security.

“We are going to heighten our police presence. We are going to start treating these events, these sporting events that we have that are rec. events, just like we treat any other event in the community,” said Spruill.

As for Halsey, she’s not too bothered by the news.

“I will still bring them. I don’t come at late hours or whatever. It doesn’t matter, If something is going to happen here at the basketball court, it’s going to happen. Kids are out of school, so things happen here. I just have to watch my surrounding with my grandchildren,” said Halsey.

If you have any information please contact the Starkville Police Department at 662-323-4131 or the Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers at 1-800-530-7151.

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