3 head to court in bar shootings Suspects arrested within hours

Published 12:04 pm Monday, July 18, 2011

Three Vicksburg men were headed to Municipal Court today to face aggravated assault charges in the shooting of two people at a bar in Marcus Bottom Saturday night.

Victor Lee Parson, 37, 1435 Ironwood Drive; his brother, James Tyrone Parson, 35, 2607 Hannah Ave.; and Franklin Lee Crook, 39, 1708 Openwood Lane, were arrested early Sunday, said police Sgt. Sandra Williams.

The shooting was reported at about 10 p.m. at Bottom Up, 2618 Halls Ferry Road, near Bowmar Avenue.

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All three suspects, witnesses said, were armed with handguns and at least two fired shots inside the crowded club, police said, injuring Alisha Allen, 26, 2518 Drummond St., and Otis Hall, 46, 1703 South St.

Allen, who was reportedly shot in her right hand, was taken by ambulance to River Region Medical Center and later transferred to University Medical Center in Jackson, where she was in fair condition this morning, spokesman Peggy Wagner said.

Hall, who was shot in the back, was taken by private vehicle to River Region, where he was treated and released, said spokesman Allen Karel. Vicksburg police Deputy Chief Mitchell Dent said he believed the shot that hit Hall went cleanly through his body without hitting any vital organs.

Allen and Hall were not the intended targets of the suspects, who went to the club to confront a man about “an incident with a female a week prior” to Saturday night’s shootings, said Williams.

The defendants each paid a $3 cover charge to enter the lounge and then approached the man, she said. The confrontation turned into a physical fight and shots were fired when the intended victim ran toward the back of the building, said Williams.

“In the process, the two victims were shot,” she said. “They were innocent people unrelated to the issues that the gunmen had.”

Shell casings were found throughout the lounge where at least 50 people, the fire safety code maximum, were inside, she said.

The suspects were arrested a few hours after the shooting at Crook’s home on Openwood Lane, Williams said, and each was charged with two counts of aggravated assault.

Crook was injured when struck in the face with a bottle during the altercation, witnesses said, but he told police he fell, Williams said. He did not seek medical attention, Williams said, but police photographs show him with a bandage of paper towels and black electrical tape on his face.

Williams declined to identify the man she said was targeted by the suspects, but said he was not hit by gunfire. She said it was not immediately known if the Parsons or Crook had previous criminal records.

Ballistics tests would help determine how many weapons were used, said Dent.

Bottom Up, the target of a number of complaints over loud music and remaining open after hours in recent months, was shut down immediately after the 10 p.m. shooting, Dent said. Under normal conditions it would have been allowed to remain open until 2 a.m.

Dent said a decision on whether the city might permanently close the club, where a beating was reported early this year, would not be made until after the investigation into Saturday night’s shooting was complete.

By city ordinance, if the police department wants an establishment closed because it is considered a danger, approval must come from the City of Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen.