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Citizens must take an active role in fighting the ills in our community

In the span of less than a month, two men have been victims of gun violence.

Fortunately, it appears both shootings will recover from their wounds.

What is unfortunate is two of the men responsible for their conditions remain at large and Vicksburg police are seeking the public’s help to find them.

One of the suspects, Tony Dewayne Smoots, has been on the run since taking part in the April 19 shooting of Jamario Hawkins, 18, in the parking lot of JP&K Foods Convenience Store, 2607 Halls Ferry Road.

Darion Turner, who was also involved in that shooting was arrested the Monday after and is charged with drive-by shooting and aggravated assault, the same charges Smoots faces.

The other suspect on the lam is Herbert Lee “Maury”Norfort, who is wanted on charges of drive-by shooting and aggravated assault in the Friday afternoon shooting of Jason Antonio Shelton, 38, in the area of Washington and Beresford streets.

One of the common themes of crime prevention is that police and the public need to work together to make our communities safer. This is one time where that cooperation is needed. We have two men accused of violent crimes who remain at large, possibly somewhere in our community. The police are doing their best to find these men, but with the other obligations they have to protect the community there is only so much they can do to look for these men.

That is where citizens come in. That nosy neighbor who keeps an eye on the neighborhood for everyone. The walker who follows the same route in the neighborhood. Or the person who just sees something out of the ordinary and calls the police.

All of us are a set of eyes and ears that can help police solve a crime or in this case catch a fugitive, and the way to do it is quite simple. Call 911, call the police or sheriff, call Crime Stoppers.

You can make the call and ask to remain anonymous. With Crime Stoppers, all callers are anonymous.

This is our chance to protect our community. If you see something unusual, call it in to Vicksburg Police, 601-636-2511, the Sheriff’s office, 601-636-1761, or Crime Stoppers, 601-355-TIPS (8477) or log on to www.centralmscrimestoppers.com or www.p3tips.com.