Weekend shooting over block away, not at Legion post

Published 8:59 am Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The shooter who wounded a teen about a block and a half from American Legion Post 3 was on the lam Wednesday morning.

The shooting occurred shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday near the bridge over the railroad where Monroe and Drummond streets intersect, Vicksburg police Capt. Sandra Williams said.

A 16-year-old was wounded in the arm, and was taken to River Region Medical Center where he was treated and released, she said.

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Past Post 3 commander Carl Baker said a series of fights at a birthday party inside the hall preceded the shooting. He and security personnel followed procedure and shut down the party when the first fight broke out.

“We got all the fights stopped and closed the party down at 11,” Baker said. “They were set to go until 11:45.”

Security guards locked down the hall, and escorted people off the property, he said.

Jeremy Brown was working at the party as a deejay, and said no one was left in the parking lot when the shooting occurred.

“I was putting my equipment in the car when I heard the shooting,” he said. “They moved them out quick.”

All private events at the Legion hall are required to provide security, and a post representative at each event, Baker said. Baker is the financial officer for Post 3 but because of his law enforcement background, he’s often the Legion’s representative at events held in the post hall.

“We don’t just turn the whole building over to anybody,” Baker said. “They have the hall, but we’re in the background.”

A portion of proceeds from renting the hall for events goes to veteran and youth service programs.

“Veterans and youth programs are what we’re all about, but we have to finance them some way,” he said.

Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong has said he is concerned about safety of people attending parties at the Legion hall. Baker said he strives to provide a safe environment for teens when events are held there.

“It gives the kids somewhere safe to go. Shutting it down and not having it available for kids is not the way to go,” Baker said.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he plans to meet with American Legion officials this week.

“It’s getting out of control. I want to see what kind of security they have in place and see what we can do to stop it (the violence). Everybody had a right to be safe in this community,” Flaggs said.