COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The Columbus Police Department needs the public’s help to bring a murderer to justice.
“We know there are several witnesses to this shooting and we need you to come forward. Please do the right thing so this does not happen again,” says Columbus Police Chief Oscar Lewis.
27 year-old Cordell Lewis was shot and killed in the early hours of Thanksgiving Day in front of the Trotter Convention Center.
There are several thousand dollars available in reward money for the conviction of a suspect.
Nearly 500 people paid to go to a party at the Trotter and were leaving when the shooting happened.
Investigators are encouraging anyone with information to voluntarily come forward.
If you have any information please Crime Stoppers at 1-800-530-7151.
That deadly Thanksgiving morning shooting is the first homicide this year in Columbus, where investigators believe a civilian pulled the trigger.
Community leaders and law enforcement believe there are several reasons behind the decline in homicides.
In November 2016 WCBI did a homicide review in the Friendly City.
Last year’s homicide rate was more than four times this year’s.
One big thing community leaders tell WCBI, is having residents involved will help solve crimes.
This time last year, there were eight homicides in Columbus.
Columbus Police Investigations Commander Captain Brent Swan says there have been other deaths classified as homicide.
That shooting involves a Columbus Police Officer and technically falls under the homicide category, but that officer has never been charged with a crime.
The violent shooting death of 27 year-old Cordell Lewis is in a different category for investigators.
“We have a lot of death investigations that we work in Columbus. The killing of another is actually classified as a homicide. This is the first potential criminal homicide, which would be classified as the murder we’ve had this year.”
CPD Overview Committee Chairman Dr. Steven L. James says one murder is still too many, but believes there are reasons behind the significant drop.
“A lot of churches have been praying, a lot of individuals have been praying, and we just thank God for answering our prayers. Secondly, I think there’s been a combined effort between the leaders of our city, the mayor, the council, the police department, and the overview committee, to put some things in place to help make our city safer. We have 18 new officers that patrol our streets every day.”
He also believes the city re-joining the drug task force has also helped with crime.
“That’s eight full-time officers, who work every day to help make our city a safer place to live, so I think you look at it, all of those things combined, helped make that a reality.”
East side 1 Neighborhood Watch Captain, Donna Hankee, believes this year’s lower numbers have a lot to do with residents stepping up to help police.
“We’ve gotten numerous neighborhood watches up and going on all four sides, and even downtown, and central Columbus. The word is getting out. We finally got some consistency in the police department with our police chief.”
Officers say they are doing everything to solve this case.
Funeral arrangements are pending for Cordell Lewis.