Starkville Police, Mayor Lynn Spruill drastically increasing presence in neighborhood after teen dies in latest shooting

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Starkville Police continue to investigate an Easter Sunday shooting that left a 17-year-old boy dead.

“It’s just sad the way things go on in this neighborhood,” said Jean Watt, whose mother lives just a few yards away from the scene. “There was a killing a few weeks ago, now there’s another one. And something needs to be done about it.”

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Police say 17-year-old Clifton Files, of Starkville was shot and killed near the intersection of Hilliard and Sherman Streets at around 5:17 p.m. on Sunday. They believe the suspects fled into the woods after the shooting.

Monday, Starkville Police were back at the scene interviewing residents. They were joined by Mayor Lynn Spruill and Alderman Henry Vaughn, who were there to talk with people about their safety concerns.

“It is incredibly sad for our community, and for this neighborhood,” Mayor Spruill said. “And it is frightening for this neighborhood so we’re going to do our very best.”

It was exactly one month ago that Mayor Spruill, Alderman Vaughn and Police Chief Mark Ballard stood just about a block away as they installed a surveillance camera at the scene of a previous shooting that left two men dead.

Now the mayor says they are doing even more.

“We’re also going to increase our patrols, so we’re going to have a change in how we structure the police,” she said. “They’re going to be down here. They’re going to be highly visible. They’re going to know these residents by name.”

She says she hopes they can foster a bond between police and residents so that people can feel safe in their own homes.

“Hopefully they’ll know the police officers as well and there’ll be comforted and encouraged by the fact that we’re focusing on here,” Mayor Spruill said. “They may get tired of looking at us, but the goal is to make this neighborhood safe.”

Watt says she was happy to see Starkville’s leaders out taking action so quickly.

“I’m glad they’re trying to do something about it,” she said. “It’s really going to help the neighborhood.”

Ultimately, she just wants the violence to end.

“It’s just sad,” she reiterated. “This killing needs to stop.”

Mayor Spruill says they hope to have another surveillance camera up in the area within the next few days.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact the Starkville Police Department or Golden Triangle CrimeStoppers.