Felon latest in roundup of gun offenders

Published 11:30 am Thursday, August 7, 2014

A convicted felon accused of multiple gun crimes is the latest person to be swiftly arrested after firing a weapon in the city limits.

Conti Tillis, 22, 130 Lightcap Blvd., was arrested over the weekend and charged with two counts of attempted aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied building, Vicksburg police Lt. Troy Kimble said.

The arrest is the latest in a string of shootings inside the city since July 1.

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“We are going to continue to arrest and to prosecute those individuals to the fullest extent of the law,” Chief Walter Armstrong said. “We have a zero tolerance as it relates to gun violence in our city and we want to continue to maintain a zero tolerance policy as it relates to violent crime.”

Tillis was identified via surveillance video from MK gas station at Fisher Ferry and Halls Ferry where he is accused of firing shots into the store on July 29, Kimble said.

Others including two teens arrested and charged this week in shootings have been arrested after tips from the public, both Kimble and Armstrong said.

“We have a community that is very much engaged in assisting the police,” Armstrong said.

At least five guns have been confiscated in recent shooting arrests, Kimble said.

A team of VPD investigators waited in the hallway of the Warren County Courthouse for Tillis last Friday after he was indicted for possession of a controlled substance, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a weapon after felony conviction, but he failed to show for court.

Circuit Judge M. James Chaney issued an arrest warrant for Tillis who was picked up over the weekend by investigators on those charges and a warrant for the July 29 shooting.

On Monday, Tillis appeared in circuit court handcuffed and shackled but wearing street clothes as he stood next to his attorney Kim Nailor.

Nailor entered a not guilty plea for Tillis.

Circuit Judge M. James Chaney set trial for Nov. 10 in the indicted case.

In that case Tillis is accused of having a stolen gun and more than an ounce of marijuana as police were responding to a shooting June 1 in the Court Street area.

Tillis was held without bail in the Issaquena County Correctional Facility this morning. The bail on his previous arrest could be revoked during a hearing set for 2 p.m. Aug. 11 before Chaney.

Tillis pleaded guilty to 2010 to robbery after being arrested for armed robbery in August 2009.

The shootings over the past month have occurred as the city continues to battle its violent crime rate. Though homicides and aggravated assaults have dropped significantly — 41 percent and 34 percent, respectively —since Armstrong took office in 2009, he said he’s not satisfied.

“We’re not pleased with just a reduction. We have zero tolerance. I cannot stress that enough,” he said.