By Josh Troy
Fourteen people were shot in three different areas in the City of Clarksdale during the early hours of Sunday morning, but none of the injuries appear to be life-threatening, according to Clarksdale Police Chief Robbie Linley.
Linley said that around 2:45 a.m. on Sunday, multiple shots were fired, hitting 12 individuals on the 300 block of Delta Avenue. Several rifles, handguns, and shell cases were found at the scene, but no suspects have been named in the shootings. “There was a large crowd that gathered outside on the 300 block of Delta,” he said.
Linley said that six females and six males were shot, and all of them went to the hospital without an ambulance. He added that only one victim with a leg injury is still in the hospital. “We do believe that this shooting occurred from an altercation that occurred at a concert in the City of Clarksdale Saturday evening and into the early morning hours of Sunday,” he said.
Linley said he believes the altercation was between suspected gang members from Tunica and Coahoma counties that spilled over into the shooting.
Shortly after the shooting on Delta Avenue, a male was shot on the 200 block of West Second Street. The third shooting followed on Friars Point Road near Florence Avenue. Linley said there were handguns, rifles, and shell cases at the scenes of the shootings.
Each shooting is being investigated individually, but the police department is looking into the possibility that the shootings on West Second Street and Friars Point Road are connected to the incident on Delta Avenue. “As far as the other two shootings, we are working on them separately, but we are definitely looking at them all to see if there is any connection,” Linley said.
Linley said there are no official suspects in any of the shootings, but the Clarksdale Police Department does have leads. “The police department right now does not have any suspects in custody,” he said. “However, we are working with the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.”
Mayor Chuck Espy provided his thoughts during the Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners meeting on Monday afternoon. “Thank you for doing a job well done,” said Espy to Linley. “Thank you for what you’re doing, but I also want to add I did speak with the Mississippi Highway Patrol.”
Espy said Mississippi Highway Patrol officials told him they never saw a larger law enforcement presence than at the Juke Joint Festival in April 2022. “They said they never believed someone would do a shooting when there’s an officer literally right on the next street,” Espy said. “And the shooting occurred during the Juke Joint Festival, literally while an officer was half a block away. I know that we can’t stop a person from doing some domestic violence. A person is angry at someone, I understand that. And I do believe that the law enforcement presence is good, but at the same time, just like they were saying from the Highway Patrol, the number of law enforcement present and someone still did a shooting. It’s just unbelievable.”
Espy said violence in other Mississippi communities occurred throughout the weekend. He said there were two murders in Vicksburg, a child was killed in Indianola, and a 16-year-old was shot in the head in Yazoo City.
“Chief, I know it’s not the glitz and glamour job of being the Chief of Police of Clarksdale, but I do know that you are doing the very best and I am very proud of that,” said Espy to Linley. “I am very thankful for what you do,” said Espy to Linley.
Linley acknowledged the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office for assisting the Clarksdale Police Department on Sunday morning.
“They came and assisted us with bringing more deputies into the city,” Linley said. “That was something they responded to quickly.” Linley praised the efforts of Coahoma County Sheriff Charles Jones. “Sheriff Jones, I can’t say enough about what he did that morning,” Linley said.
Linley said he does not know how long it will take to name all of the suspects and gather all of the information about the shootings. “At this point, I really don’t know how long it’s going to take because we have a lot of information we are processing and gathering that we are going to sift through before we answer those questions,” he said. “We are working with the Sheriff’s Department, and we’ve asked for assistance from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.”
Linley said a plan is being put in place to protect citizens from unnecessary violence and any retaliatory shootings since it is believed the shooting on Delta Avenue was gang-related. “I do want to let the citizens and the board know that the police department and the sheriff’s department are working together to put a plan of action in place,” he said.
Linley said anyone with information about any of the shootings may contact the Clarksdale Police Department at (662) 621-8152 and ask to speak with an investigator.