Tag Archive: Jackson


Dispatch Staff Report

March 27, 2012 3:23:48 PM


The third suspect in Saturday’s fatal shooting of a Mississippi State  University turned himself into law enforcement authorities today in  Florida.


Trent Deundra Crump, 21, of Flowood, surrendered to authorities, after  investigators with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations released information  about his travel.


MSU officials subsequently issued a public call for help in locating Crump,  who now is being held by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department in Gainesville,  Fla. on an outstanding capital murder warrant.


The two other suspects –Dontae Harvey and Mason Perry Jones, 21, of Jackson  — Monday were arrested and charged with capital murder in the death of John  Sanderson, 21, who recently transferred to MSU from Holmes Community  College.


“The dedication and hard work of our campus police and the extraordinary  cooperation of assisting law enforcement agencies have resulted in the swift  apprehension of those we believe are responsible for this tragic incident,” said  MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum.


Sanderson was shot multiple times outside a dorm room on the first floor of  Evans Hall, Saturday night.


Police have not disclosed a possible motive for the crime, but MSU  spokeswoman Maridith Geuder said the sale of a controlled substance is the  underlying charge in the capital murder charge.


Sanderson, who lived in Rice Hall, probably was “visiting”  Evans Hall the  night of the shooting, said MSU Vice President of Student Affairs Bill  Kibler.


Evans Hall, one of the older dormitories on campus, is arranged as a  quadrangle. The first floor, where the incident occurred, opens into a  courtyard. The three higher floors have balconies overlooking the courtyard.  Evans Hall, which holds about 300 male students, has two main entrances — the  north entrance accesses the first floor and the south entrance accesses the  second floor, which features a game room and office, along with residents’  rooms.


“This is the first time in our school’s history that such a tragic event has  occurred involving a student being shot on campus,”  Keenum said Sunday. “Our  campus is known as a safe place, and I want to assure students, parents, faculty  and staff that it continues to be safe.”


Entry to dormitory rooms is gained through three levels requiring key-card  access — at exterior entrances, entrances to wings or floors and at residents’  rooms.


However, the key-card access system was not activated at the time of the  shooting, which occurred before 10 p.m. And, Kibler noted, non-residents can be  brought into the dorm by residents, at any hour.


The contents of this article have been modified since its original  posting.





Slim Smith, Dispatch Correspondent

March 26, 2012 12:59:20 PM


STARKVILLE – An arrest was made Sunday in connection with the weekend fatal  shooting of a Mississippi State University student.


MSU Police Chief Georgia Lindley today confirmed Mason Perry Jones was  arrested for the death of MSU student John Sanderson, 21, of Madison, who died  of multiple gun-shot wounds following a shooting at Evans Hall dormitory shortly  before 10 p.m. Saturday.


Jones was arrested in Memphis about 7 p.m. Sunday, by the U.S. Marshal’s  Fugitive Task Force. Jones was arrested on an outstanding armed robbery warrant  out of Jackson, which was not related to Saturday’s shooting, Lindley said,  noting UPD was informed by the marshal’s service on Sunday afternoon an arrest  was imminent and informed of the arrest, as soon as it was made. Though he has  been arrested, charges have yet to be brought against Jones.


“The U.S. Marshal’s Service was one of many agencies that have volunteered to  help us in the investigation,” Lindley said. “They came in (Sunday) afternoon  and began working the case. We are very grateful for all of the assistance.  Obviously, this is a very important matter to us.”


Lindley would not confirm Jones is the primary suspect and would not  elaborate on whether police now know the identities of two other men sought in  connection with the shooting. The UPD has not yet interviewed Jones and Lindley  would not comment on whether other agencies have interviewed Jones, as part of  the investigation.


Witnesses reported three black males were involved in the shooting and left  the scene in a late-model blue Crown Victoria.


Police recovered a handgun on campus early Sunday morning. Surveillance tapes  from cameras at the entrances of Evans Hall were being reviewed as a part of the  investigation, said Bill Kibler, Vice President of Student Affairs at  MSU.


“Our goal now is to identify the suspects and bring them into custody  immediately,” Kibler said Sunday. He declined to reveal a possible motive for  the shooting, but said police had information from witnesses who “knew what was  taking place.”


Evans Hall, one of the older dormitories on campus, is arranged as a  quadrangle. The first floor, where the incident occurred, opens into a  courtyard. The higher floors have balconies overlooking the courtyard. Evans  Hall has two main entrances — the north entrance accesses the first floor and  the south entrance accesses the second floor, which features a game room and  office, along with residents’ rooms.


Kibler said the shooting took place outside one of the first floor dorm rooms  and 24 students subsequently were relocated from their first-floor rooms to  preserve the integrity of the crime scene.


“This is the first time in our school’s history that such a tragic event has  occurred involving a student being shot on campus,” MSU President Dr. Mark  Keenum said Sunday. “Our campus is known as a safe place, and I want to assure  students, parents, faculty and staff that it continues to be safe.”


Entry to dormitory rooms is gained through three levels requiring key-card  access — at exterior entrances, entrances to wings or floors and at residents’  rooms.


However, the key-card access system was activated at the time of the  incident, which occurred before 10 p.m. And, Kibler noted, non-residents can be  brought into the dorm by residents, at any hour.


A deadly shooting spree on the campus of Virginia Tech in 2007 – when almost  two hours passed before students/staff/faculty were notified that a shooting had  taken place – led to changes on campuses across the country to get the word out  more quickly.


Ben Grace, an MSU freshman who lives in Evans Hall, Sunday said he received a  torrent of text messages after the incident.


“I was getting all these texts and I’m thinking, “Why is everyone texting  me?” Then I got a call from a friend and he told me what happened. I just  grabbed my laptop and went over to stay with a friend at South Hall.”


Another Evans Hall resident, Phillip Bajoras, said he walked into the North  Entrance at about 10 p.m. Saturday.


“There were a lot of people standing around and I was wondering what was  going on,” he recalled. “Somebody was saying somebody got stabbed. Somebody  else said he was shot, but nobody said they heard any gunshots.”


Barojas said he looked over the balcony and could see the victim, who was  being attended to by “a couple of people” just outside one of the rooms while  police were clearing the courtyard.


Having recently transferred from Holmes Community College, Sanderson was in  his first semester at MSU.

Read more: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=16254#ixzz1qGffjJZj

No Bolivar County burn ban yet


Not only here in Bolivar County but across the Mississippi Delta over the past  several weeks, dark clouds of rising smoke have cluttered the horizon in every  direction.

The voices of many a concerned citizen ring loudly in boards  of aldermen and supervisors meetings in the towns that litter the landscape of  the Mississippi Delta, but they are, more often than not, ringing on deaf  ears.

“I am concerned. I am concerned for the private properties that  surround many of the burning fields, but I am more concerned with the  potentially devastating effect that the smoke will likely have on the  environment. Only living in the Delta for a few years, I cannot believe that the  EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has not stepped in and put an end to these  senseless burnings,” said one citizen at one of these small town Delta  meetings.

“There is some legitimate concern there,” said a representative  from the Mississippi Forestry Commission. “But the simple truth is that by law  we cannot step in until we are asked by the individual county board of  supervisors.

Last year, Gov. Haley Barbour, passed a law banning any  burns within the boarders of the state of Mississippi.

This was because  of the drought affecting much of the state and the fear that these ‘wildfires’ would ultimately burn out of control causing severe damages to adjoining  properties.

However, there are some that benefit from these  burnings.

Farmers have a tough job. Every year they are fighting the odds — Mother Nature, new machinery, higher fuel prices and lower commodity prices  just to name a few.

In their minds, burning fields is a simple, cost  effective way of removing crop stubble from the fields that have been harvested  in preparation of planting the new crops.

Area farmers have been burning  fields for years. Their fathers did it and now they are simply following in the  process.

However, this year has been undeniably worse than others of  recent memory due to the fact that the county has had more wheat planted this  year than in years passed.

The high winds that often torment this area of  the U.S. during the spring and early summer months makes the process of burning  that much more of a sensitive and dangerous topic.

Again, burn bans are  requested by the county board of supervisors before being approved by the  Mississippi Forestry Commission.

Several Mississippi Counties currently  find themselves under burn bans, such as Amite, Copiah, George, Hancock,  Harrison, Jackson, Jones, Lincoln, Marion, Pike and Stone.

Read more:  The Bolivar Commercial – No Bolivar County burn ban yet



Unease in the Miss. Delta as floodwaters spread


By SHELIA BYRD, Associated Press Shelia Byrd, Associated Press 1 hr 28 mins ago

RENA LARA, Miss. – Officials in a small town are trying to assure its 500 residents they are doing what they can to shore up the levee to protect them from the swollen Mississippi River.

“It’s getting scary,” said Rita Harris, 43, who lives in a tiny wooden house in the shadow of the levee in Rena Lara. “They won’t let you go up there to look at the water.”

The uneasiness is being felt all along the poverty-stricken Delta as oozing floodwaters from the Mississippi River and its tributaries spilled across farm fields, cut off churches, washed over roads and forced people from their homes Wednesday.

Some used boats to navigate flooded streets as the crest rolled slowly downstream, bringing misery to low-lying communities. About 600 homes have been flooded in the Delta in the past several days as the water rose toward some of the highest levels on record.

The flood crest is expected to push past the Delta by late next week.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour urged people to get out if they think there is even a chance their homes will flood. He said there is no reason to believe a levee on the Yazoo River would fail, but if it did, 107 feet of water would flow over small towns.

“More than anything else, save your life and don’t put at risk other people who might have to come in and save your lives,” he said.

Much farther downstream, Louisiana officials were awaiting an Army Corps of Engineers decision on whether to open the Morganza spillway to take the pressure off the levees protecting Baton Rouge and, downstream, New Orleans and the many oil refineries in between. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Wednesday that residents who would be affected by the spillway opening should assume it will open and should plan to get out of the way.

Crews were using water-filled tubes to bolster levees protecting downtown Baton Rouge, where minor flooding could occur. Sandbags were being placed along a portion of New Orleans’ French Quarter riverfront, though the city isn’t expecting a major impact from the flood. The river could be closed to ship traffic at New Orleans if it rises too high.

The Mississippi Delta, with a population of about 465,000, is a leaf-shaped expanse of rich soil between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers, extending about 200 miles from Memphis, Tenn., to Vicksburg, Miss. Along the way are towns whose names are familiar to Civil War buffs, aficionados of the blues, and scholars of the civil rights era: Clarksdale, Greenwood, Greenville and Yazoo City.

While some farms in the cotton-, rice- and corn-growing Delta are prosperous, there is also grinding poverty. Nine of the 11 counties that touch the Mississippi River in Mississippi have poverty rates at least double the national average of 13.5 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The governor said the state is asking local officials to get in touch with people who might have no electricity and phones and thus no way to get word of the flooding.

“It’s a tiny number, but we have to find them,” Barbour said.

Late Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for 14 counties in Mississippi because of the flooding. Housing and home repairs will be covered and low-interest loans to cover uninsured damage will be available.

In Greenville, Liz Jones, who is unemployed, lives on the second floor of a housing project and worries what might happen in the event of a levee break. She has no means of transportation.

“I got a baby and my mama. I don’t know what we’d do about food and clothes and stuff,” she said.

In Hollandale, one of the small rural towns in the Delta the governor warned might flood if the levee breaks, 62-year-old nursing home worker Geraldine Jackson fretted about what to do if she and her husband have to leave their red-brick house, where pieces of the roof have broken off and the white trim is peeling.

“I have relatives, but all my relatives live in the Delta, and the water’s going to get them too,” she said. “I’m just real messed up.”

Swollen by weeks of heavy rain and snowmelt, the Mississippi River has been breaking high-water records that have stood since the 1920s and `30s. It is projected to crest at Vicksburg on May 19 and shatter the mark set there during the cataclysmic Great Flood of 1927. The crest is expected to reach New Orleans on May 23.

Even after the peak passes, water levels will remain high for weeks, and it could take months for flooded homes to dry out.

About 600,000 acres of cultivated row crops could flood, mainly winter wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton and rice, said Andy Prosser, spokesman with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture. Even if the levees hold, the state expects to lose $150 million to $200 million worth of crops, the governor said. Mississippi’s catfish farmers could also be wiped out if the Yazoo floods their ponds and washes away their fish.

Many of the victims of the slowly unfolding disaster are poor people living perilously close to the water.

In the Memphis, Tenn., area, where the Mississippi crested Tuesday just inches short of the 1927 record, many of the flooded dwellings were mobile homes and one-story brick or wood buildings in low-lying, working-class neighborhoods unprotected by floodwalls or levees.

Maria Flores, her husband, Pedro Roman, and their four children ended up in a church shelter in south Memphis — some 20 miles from their trailer in the Millington area of Shelby County. They lost a trailer in last year’s flood, and it happened to them again this year.

Flores, who works as a baby sitter, and Roman, an unemployed day laborer, did not have disaster insurance and suspect their trailer is a total loss. At the shelter, they were receiving clothing and three meals a day and were sleeping on air mattresses in a room with 20 other people.

Flores said she stopped going to work because it was too far and she could not afford the gas. Roman seemed almost paralyzed by the uncertainty.

“People who have money have a better chance of getting back on their feet than poorer people,” Flores said. “That’s our problem.”


Associated Press writers Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tenn., and Emily Wagster Pettus and Holbrook Mohr in Jackson contributed to this report.

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