October 20, 2020

Governor Bryant state capital violence ‘must end’

JACKSON — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday he would use his powers as governor to help curb violence in the state capital city of Jackson if necessary.

Bryant’s comments came in a post on Twitter Monday in the wake of the heinous murder of a Jackson pastor who was killed Sunday morning at the door of his church.

Anthony Longino, 62, was unlocking the door of the small church he pastored at approximately 9 a.m. Sunday, just an hour before the church’s Sunday school was set to begin at New Bethany Missionary Baptist Church.

Police believe robbery is the motive for Longino’s murder. Police believe two males approached Longino, shot him, robbed him and stole his truck, which was found hours later in Jackson.

A second murder happened in Jackson later in the day Sunday when a 19-year-old was gunned down in the parking lot of a Jackson Walmart store. Three people have been arrested and charged with capital murder in the case.

Bryant on Twitter called for an end to the violence:

“It is time for our leaders in the Capital City to act. I will join them to stop this violence together or will do so as Governor on my own. This must end.”

Bryant could theoretically call in state law enforcement officials for help or even the National Guard, which would be extremely rare.

Bryant’s plea comes on the heels of Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s own statement calling for an end to the violence.

On Sunday, Lumumba said:

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of those who died due to senseless acts of violence today and our continued prayers and support go out to all of the families who have suffered at the hands of senseless violence in this city.

“We will continue to do all that we can to stop this pressing issue of violence in our communities. Our police department has already captured persons of interest in both cases today. While our police department does all that it can to solve these crimes after they take place, in fact, doing so at a rate better than the national average, our police department is incapable of stopping these instances before they take place.

“They don’t have the tools to enter the minds and stop these people, these acts of violence before they take place. This requires the engagement of every person in this city from the mayor, to the community leader, to the neighbor.

“We must focus not only on the what, but the why, understanding that the conditions which lead to this criminal activity must be addressed first in order to prevent these circumstances from taking place. We look forward to addressing this issue tomorrow during a press conference to speak to the issues and the concerns that the community may have.”

The Associate Press contributed to this article.