Campground worker who pulled gun on black couple may face criminal charges, DA says

Published 12:00 pm Friday, May 31, 2019

A Mississippi district attorney says a woman who was seen in a video brandishing a pistol as she told a black couple to leave a campground in Oktibbeha County may soon face criminal charges.

Sixteenth Circuit District Attorney Scott Colom said Thursday the worker, identified as Ruby Howell, may be prosecuted for her actions, depending upon further investigation into the incident.

Howell, who is white, was fired by the campground’s owner after a video surfaced showing her brandishing a large revolver while she told Jessica and Franklin Richardson, who are black, to leave the campground at Oktibbeha County Lake.

The Richardsons say they were merely looking for a place to have a picnic with their dog when they were confronted by Howell. Jessica Richardson videoed a portion of the encounter that quickly went viral on social media.

Oktibbeha law enforcement officials held a press conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the matter, local media reported.

Although the campground owner, Kampgrounds of America (KOA), said the company “does not condone the use of a firearm in any manner on our properties” Colom said Mississippi’s open carry laws would make prosecuting a charge again her difficult.

He told the media at the press conference that it would be possible to pursue two misdemeanor charges — brandishing a weapon and simple assault by threats, physical menace.

Colom said the event put an unfair light on the community.

“The Oktibbeha County I know is loving and welcoming to most people, even people who are not from here,” Colom said. “It’s a place where people allow you to fish on private land. I think this is an isolated incident that does not reflect the people of this community.”

For a related opinion piece on this incident visit: https://www.magnoliastatelive.com/2019/05/29/perspective-mississippis-ugly-past-lives-on-through-campground-gun-incident/