‘We are in the fight for the soul of our city’ — Mississippi police chief says town needs to ‘wake up’ about gang activity

Published 1:18 pm Tuesday, July 20, 2021

One Mississippi police chief says residents are in the “fight for the soul”  their city when it comes to the recent development of gang-related crimes.

Brookhaven police are investigating a weekend incident that Police Chief Kenneth Collins says is just one of the latest crimes associated with gangs and gang activity in the city.

“Wake up, Brookhaven,” Chief Kenneth Collins said. “We need to wake up. We are in the fight for the soul of our beautiful city.”

At 4:52 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to calls of shots fired on West Enterprise Street. A juvenile driver told officers he was driving on the street when another individual approached and fired into his vehicle through the back glass.

Approximately 15 shots were fired and one weapon was recovered by law enforcement, Collins said.

“No one wants to talk. They let criminals hide among them. This group of kids who are trying to establish gangs in the city of Brookhaven, we know who they are. We have been dealing with them for years. We’re just blessed no one was injured,” Collins said.

The city’s lead officer said gang members are gathering at the homes of people who think they are providing a safe place for minors to be. These gang members are making videos and taking photos holding drugs or guns, and bragging about crimes they have already committed or plan to commit, and posting the photos and videos to social media.

Collins said he urges parents to be aware of what is going on in their homes, and not allow them to become gang hangouts.

“Don’t let your kids walk the streets all time of the day and the night. We have been dealing with some of these kids for years,” Collins said. “We cannot save individuals that do not want to be saved. We must work together to build cases and put them in or back in prison.”

He also asked for the public’s help in gathering digital information.

“Every time they take pictures with guns and dope or brag about a crime they’ve committed, screenshot it. Help us build cases on these individuals,” he said.

“Keep your properties well lit, install cameras, check on your neighbors and elderly at all times. We cannot allow a handful of individuals to destroy our beautiful city.

We must stand up and fight for the safety of our community and for the future of all the young kids who are out here doing the right thing, because they’re trying to recruit them to steal and commit crimes for them,” Collins said. “So we must work together now because this is a sign of things to come. If we don’t stop it now, our town will not be like we remember it. So I’m asking everyone to work together to help Brookhaven stay safe.”

No individuals involved in Sunday’s incident have been named by law enforcement because all are minors. The case remains under investigation.