Vicksburg homicide rate remains lower after spike in 2020

Published 2:37 pm Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Vicksburg Police Department responded to three homicides, with a possible fourth pending an investigation, in 2022.

The department also responded to three homicides in 2021, a steep drop from 2020 when VPD reported 11 homicides within the city limits.

Police Chief Penny Jones said that maintaining the lowered homicide rate is the result of hard work from officers in the department.

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“It’s just a collaboration of good police work,” Jones said. “And investigators and officers just being well aware of what’s going on in the community and getting out more.”

Mayor George Flaggs, Jr. said he views the results as encouraging.

“I commend Chief Jones and the deputy chiefs for focusing on those hard crimes such as homicide. That was my intent when I selected that team,” Flaggs said. “That was the target: those hard crimes and to reduce the crime rate in the city of Vicksburg. And I think they are making some headway on it.”

Flaggs said that the lower numbers are indicative of a trend in crime rates in the city.

“I constantly look at those stats; we are constantly reducing crime,” he said. “We don’t have random acts of violence in our city, and I think we are doing a good job controlling and patrolling it.”

Jones, who was appointed Chief of Police in 2021, also said the department plans to continue its community engagement efforts with programs such as the Citizens on Patrol Academy, a program designed to educate residents about the department’s structure and how it operates.

“We’ve got a lot planned for the community in 2023, especially with citizens on patrol,” Jones said. “We’ve just got a lot of community-oriented things for 2023, and we certainly look forward to recruiting more this year.”

The three confirmed homicides in Vicksburg during 2022:

  • Reginald Rogers, Jr. was shot and killed on the night of Jan. 26 in the 1100 block of National Street.

Christopher Henderson, Jr., 20 of Vicksburg, and Jordan Harvey, 19 of Canton, were arrested and charged with murder in relation to the incident.

  • Lois Gaskin, 45, was killed after a stabbing incident that occurred at the Waltersville Estates on the night of March 10. She succumbed to her injuries after being taken to the emergency room at Merit Health River Region.

Taree Johnson, 31 of Vicksburg, and Jessica Miller, 28 of Vicksburg, were both charged with murder in Haskin’s death.

  • Dale Turpin, 37 of Vicksburg, was found stabbed to death at the Motel 6 on South Frontage Road on Nov. 29.

Jennifer Linear, 31 of Vicksburg, was arrested and charged with murder in relation to the incident.

The Vicksburg Police Department is also currently investigating the death of Michael Shane Harris, 47 of Vicksburg, whose body was found in a ravine near the Ameristar Hotel on Dec. 27. The cause of Harris’s death has not yet been released.