Neighbors, Family React to Columbus Homicide


COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – An early Sunday Morning shooting at a Columbus apartment complex leaves one man dead.

Officers were dispatched to The Reserve Apartments on 31st Avenue around 2:00am Sunday Morning.

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Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant has identified the shooting victim as 21-year-old O’Darious O’Neal of Columbus.

Police Chief Fred Shelton says there had been an argument in the complex’s parking lot.
He said that the victim and the shooter knew each other.

A second person was injured during the incident and is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Baptist Golden Triangle.
No arrests have been made at this time, but Shelton says they’re looking at a possible suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call Golden Triangle Crimestoppers.

Meanwhile, O’Neal’s family and people who live in the Reserve Apartments are shocked and scared.

A cousin did not want to go on camera. Many neighbors didn’t either, for fear of retaliation. But some are speaking out, including police, who seem confident an arrest will be made.

“This is mainly a quiet neighborhood,” resident Perry Keaton said.

And on Sunday during the day, it was.
That was a stark contrast from early Sunday Morning, when shots were fired in the parking lot.

“This is the first time something like this has happened over here. A bullet could’ve hit any one of these apartments, you know, a kid, anything,” Keaton said.

Police say a bullet did hit and killed 21-year-old O’Darious O’Neal.

“There’s been a lot of shootings but this is the first one where we’ve actually had a person killed,” Police Chief Fred Shelton said.

Shelton said witnesses and others are cooperating, as they investigate Columbus’ first homicide of 2018. But the stories aren’t all the same.

“We’ve got several different versions of what happened. We’ve got witness statements. Some people saying this, some people saying that. We’ve got to come down there and get the truth,” Shelton said.

He’s waiting to interview that second person, who was still in the hospital as of Sunday evening, recovering from at least one gunshot wound.
He said an autopsy on O’Neal’s body will also help investigators arrest the right person or people.

But that could take a week or more.

Meanwhile neighbors are trying to return to a sense of normalcy.

The police chief said they’re increasing patrols along 31st Avenue, but he has no reason to believe anyone involved in this crime will return to that area.

Despite what some neighbors told WCBI off-camera, the chief said he does not believe this was gang related.


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