‘We will make sure the wicked have no peace.’ Leaders of Mississippi River city address series of shootings in recent days.

Published 8:01 am Sunday, January 16, 2022

Leaders in one Mississippi city addressed community concerns on social after two shootings in two nights — one fatal.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said he and local law enforcement believe the shootings are connected and are retaliatory.

Since the shooting, a number of weapons have been confiscated in connection to illegal activities or illegal carry, Daughtry said. Gibson thanked officers for their efforts to apply heat to the area to get guns off the streets.

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“We are taking this seriously. There is no one more concerned about crime in Natchez than I am,” Gibson said. “We have officers who are giving their all to make sure our city is safe. We have a plan.”

This plan includes the use of a Violent Immediate Police Emergency Response (V.I.P.E.R.) Unit for police to get weapons off the street. In three months, the unit has taken 30 weapons off the streets of Natchez. NPD also has a SWAT team to respond to any violent situations.

Natchez Police Department Chief Joseph Daughtry confirmed that Ronald Cortez Johnson, 29, was arrested for a shooting at Martin Luther King and Madison Streets Friday night. He is booked in the Adams County Jail for a foreign warrant.

He said a victim was taken to the hospital and had non-life-threatening injuries.

Officers were “right around the corner” when the shooting happened and immediately took action, he said.

This is the second Natchez shooting incident in the past two nights.

Officers responded to another shooting in the 500 block of Oak Street, at approximately 9:45 p.m. Thursday, where Antonio Foster, 35, was found dead on arrival.

A second gunshot victim, Wayne Hammett, 32, was transported to Merit Health Natchez by private vehicle and then transported to UMMC in Jackson.

Gibson said they will be recommending the hire of new booking officers to allow for more officers to be out on patrol at night.

Daughtry thanked the community for their help in communicating with the NPD. They are calling crime-stoppers and flagging officers down to alert them to any criminal activity, he said.

“We know Natchez is better than that. We have some great people in this community,” Daughtry said. “We at the Natchez Police Department have taken on a motto from the book of Isaiah which says ‘the wicked should have no peace.’ We will make sure the wicked have no peace.”