Fourth teen arrested in AmeriCorps attack

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 14, 2009

A fourth Vicksburg teen was arrested Thursday in the mugging of AmeriCorps volunteers on Washington Street and Bowmar Avenue.

Joseph Lane, 17, 733 Johnson St., was picked up in the 3000 block of Green Street at 11:57 p.m., police said. “We had information that he was going to show up there,” said Lt. Bobby Stewart.

Lane was charged with aggravated assault and two counts of strong-arm robbery in the Aug. 2 attacks, Stewart said. He was being held this morning without bond at the Vicksburg Police Department pending his initial hearing in court.

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Arrested earlier this week in the attack were Joshua Coffee, 17, 241 Demby Drive, Earnest Atkins, 18, 2934 Park Ave., and a 16-year-old male not identified because of his age.

Coffee and Atkins remained in the Warren County Jail today, and the juvenile was still at the Warren County Youth Detention Center.

The four are charged with robbing two of six AmeriCorps volunteers who were walking to the All Saints’ Episcopal School campus on Confederate Avenue, where they are living, from downtown, where “they had been out on the town,” Police Chief Walter Armstrong said Thursday. Stewart said one victim’s nose was broken.

They are among about 140 AmeriCorps volunteers who arrived in Vicksburg July 31 to attend residential training sessions before being deployed.

“It is unfortunate that a group of new AmeriCorps members were mugged off campus,” said the group’s community relations specialist, Erika Roberts. “The members are dealing with the incident.”

The federal program is taking additional measures to “ensure their safety and expand their knowledge of surrounding neighborhoods and other hot spots,” she said.

Corps members, ages 18-24, also are training in cultural awareness, life skills, leadership and teamwork. They volunteer in environmental cleanup, clearing trails, rebuilding homes, recovery response and tutor/mentor programs in schools.

The 20 team leaders who arrived July 6 cleared fallen ceiling tiles and removed paint chips about three weeks ago to begin restoration of the Sisters of Mercy Convent in the Southern Cultural Heritage Complex on Adams Street.

AmeriCorps teams have spent more than 700,000 hours in Mississippi on more than 270 community-service projects.

The corps works with nonprofit organizations such as the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi and public schools and the new center here is one of five regional centers in the nation.


Contact Tish Butts at