Shooting

Laurel police officers look near a shooting scene for shell casings Thursday night. (Photo by Mark Thronton)

 

Jasper man in car hit with hail of gunfire in eighth Laurel-related shooting in six weeks

A man was shot while sitting in his car in a Laurel neighborhood just after 9 p.m. on Thursday, Chief Tommy Cox of the Laurel Police Department said.

The unidentified victim “almost got to the hospital on his own,” Cox said, after driving away from the scene of the shooting at Victoria Avenue and East 7th Street, right off Chantilly Street.

Officers were on the scene at the intersection looking for and marking shell casings after the call came in at approximately 9:20.

“The crime scene was in two places,” Cox said.

The Chrysler the victim was driving was in front of South Central Regional Medical Center when officers located it. He drove away after his car was hit by a hail of gunfire, Cox said. There were reports that as many as 20 shots were fired into the car and the victim was “hit more than once,” Cox said. 

The victim was able to talk to investigators before being taken to surgery and he was expected to survive, Cox said. It was unclear if the shooter was in a car or walking when the weapon was fired into the victim’s vehicle. Nearby residents described the sound of rapid gunfire, suggesting that an assault-style rifle was used. Cox declined to say what kind of weapon was used.

Police did not identify the victim, but sources who know him said it was “Tito” Coleman of Paulding, and sources with knowledge of the case confirmed that.

Asked if this shooting is connected to any others that have happened in Laurel or the area in recent weeks, Cox said he didn’t know.

“It’s still under investigation,” he said.

Investigators are seeking information about the case from anyone who may have information. Call the LPD at 601-399-4440 or Crime Stoppers at 601-428-STOP (7867).

Police made a second arrest in a shooting that occurred in South Park Village on Aug. 23. Mary Jackson, 34, was charged with accessory before the fact of aggravated assault and armed robbery, Cox said. She is accused in the same shooting and robbery that Devante Malik Boyd, 22, of Laurel was arrested for on Monday. That unidentified victim was transported to SCRMC by officers for treatment.

Last Friday night, 32-year-old Dameco “Bunkie” Pruitt was shot and killed in front of a residence at Julian Street and South 15th Avenue. Jonathan Darnell “J.J.” Jones, 28, was charged with murder in that shooting death. He was out on bond for murder in Hattiesburg at the time of the shooting.

Three Collins teenagers were arrested for another shooting that happened the previous weekend in the area of Masonite Drive and Elm Street. Tydarium Magee and Anthony Barnes, both 19, and an unidentief 17-year-old boy were charged with aggravated assault, armed robbery and kidnapping in that case.

Last month, 27-year-old Antonio Mitchell and 26-year-old Christopher Applewhite II were arrested after was was described as a “rolling shootout” from their cars in the areas of North Pine Street and South Garden Drive in Laurel. Only one minor injury was reported.

Also last month, former Laurel High football player Justin Mack, 26, was gunned down in front of his Waynesboro residence as he prepared to head to work at Howard Industries. No arrest has been made in that case, but threats of retaliation have caused disruptions at his former place of employment and at last Friday’s Laurel-Wayne County football game.

Two Laurel High football players faced charges after a shooting outside a Hattiesburg eatery near the University of Southern Miss on Aug. 16. Kaylin Ulmer, 18, and an unidentified 17-year-old were charged with possession of a stolen weapon after an altercation led to gunfire. There were no injuries.

In late July, 42-year-old George Hosey was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in his home on 11th Street, just off 1st Avenue. No arrests have been made in that case.

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