Tupelo police targeting illegal gun ownership in wake of recent murder

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TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – Tupelo Police have planned increased patrols, and other measures to get guns out of the hands of criminals.

The steps were taken in the wake of the fatal shooting of a teenager late last month.

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The shooting death of Tiara Dancer, 17, shocked the entire city of Tupelo.

Dancer was a bystander in a large group of young people, watching a fight in the Haven Acres neighborhood, when shots rang out. Dancer was struck by a bullet, and died on the scene. Police arrested Jacoby ONeal, 19, for the shooting. He was charged with second degree murder.

The crime has put the spotlight on gun violence and police have taken extra steps to get illegal guns off the streets.

“We see guns fall into some criminals hands, through burglaries, different areas, but at the same time it’s very important to suppress gun possession, as well as those type of things that are occurring with criminals,” said Deputy Police Chief Anthony Hill.

Extra patrols, safety checkpoints and other measures will take place throughout the entire city, and not in one or two isolated areas.

“The public will see increased patrols by officers, foot patrols, saturation patrols as well,” Hill said.

Cooperation from the community can also help reduce violent crime. Police said it’s important for people to call in tips about any alleged activity , or anything unusual they may see on social media.

“Instagram, Snapchat, different things, we can be helped quite a bit if we are just informed of those things, public is a key structure in helping with all this, we emphasize to call the police if you see criminal activity or something suspicious, if we dont’ know we can’t help you,” said Deputy Chief Jackie Clayton.

Police emphasized the crackdown only targets those who cannot legally possess firearms, such as convicted felons, or minors. The crackdown police said does not impact law abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment Right.

Neighborhoods throughout Tupelo have held regular meetings addressing the issues of gun violence and how to combat the problem.

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