DICEY SITUATION: Illegal gambling leads to shootout; Cops seize $10k

Published 10:06 am Friday, May 29, 2015

An illegal high-stakes dice game led to a shootout early Thursday on Buena Vista Drive, and police seized more than $10,000 in cash believed to have be used in the game.

No one was wounded in the shooting at 12:55 a.m. in the 200 block of Buena Vista Drive, but 11 people — seven men, a woman and “three small children” — were in the home when the gunfight began, Vicksburg police Capt. Sandra Williams said.

“We had at least two different firearms used in the shooting. It was basically a shootout,” Williams said. “People outside were shooting into the home and people inside were shooting outside.”

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No one had been arrested and charged with the shooting Thursday. The suspect or suspects in the case will face charges of shooting into an occupied dwelling, Williams said.

“Because of all the people that were in there, it would be multiple counts,” she said.

An argument over the illegal high-stakes dice game escalated into the shooting, Williams said. When investigators arrived, they discovered the home riddled with bullet holes and recovered more than $10,000 in cash, Williams said.

VPD can file a civil lawsuit seeking forfeiture of the cash.

Several handguns were recovered, but police declined to release the number of weapons found.

“One of them had been reported stolen in Tennessee in 1980,” Williams said.

No weapons charges had been filed Thursday, but five people were charged with misdemeanor illegal gambling, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine, Williams said.

Mississippi Gaming Commission Agents were not called, and illegal gambling cases are typically handled in Vicksburg Municipal Court, she said.

Despite gaming being legal at four casinos in Vicksburg, illegal gambling, especially sports betting, is common in the city, Williams said.

The shootout came almost four years to the day of a deadly shooting sparked by a dice game.

James Ransom, now 23, shot and killed 20-year-old Robert Banks in the 1700 block of Martha Street May, 31 2011.

District Attorney Ricky Smith said Banks was a bystander who had been watching Ransom and a group of teens fighting for more than an hour over the dice game.

Ransom returned to his Martha Street home, grabbed a gun and fired into a crowd gathered to watch the fight, Smith said.

The bullet stuck Banks in the chest, and he died later that day at River Region Medical Center.

In June 2012, Ransom pleaded guilty to depraved heart murder and was sentenced by Circuit Judge M. James Chaney to 20 years in prison. He was also sentenced to five years on a separate robbery.

Ransom is serving his 25-year sentenced at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, according to Mississippi Department of Corrections records. He is slated for release Jan. 2, 2036.

Another man and a juvenile were initially arrested and charged in that shooting, but a Warren County grand jury declined to indict them.