With Bible in hand, Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson declared war on the criminals of Jackson as he preached for harsher sentences for those who commit violent crimes.
Gipson made his remarks at a press conference at the Trade Mart Wednesday on the grounds of the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson, where on Saturday, a law enforcement officer shot and killed one of the people suspected of firing shots during the Mississippi Mudbug Festival sponsored by the Mississippi Agriculture Commission.
Gipson quoted the Bible from the book of Nehemiah, Chapter 4, verses 7-9.
“But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.”
For subscribers:Supreme Court deliberations are supposed to be secret. So how did a draft abortion opinion leak?
Mother’s Day:10 Mother’s Day gift ideas she’ll actually want that cost next to nothing up front
After quoting the Bible, Gipson likened the scripture passage to what happened Saturday night.
“The crime wave that has plagued the capital city of Jackson, Mississippi, crashed within the gates of the state fairgrounds Saturday night,” Gipson said. “This is completely and totally unacceptable.”
He applauded the efforts of law enforcement on duty, saying the attack was responded to and put down within 2 minutes.
The teens arrested for Saturday’s shooting at the Mississippi Mudbug Festival face multiple aggravated assault charges.
On Saturday, Calvin Berry, 15, and Leedrick Trim, 16, were arrested by Hinds County Sherriff’s deputies and booked at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center.
Gov. Tate Reeves: ‘violence in Jackson has gone on for far too long’
According to the Hinds County Jail’s website, Berry is being charged with two counts of aggravated assault, while Trim was charged with three counts.
Both are charged as adults.
“Our security officers will respond quickly and effectively to end any threat,” Gipson said. “That was true Saturday night, and that is true today and will be true tomorrow. Any lawlessness on these state fairgrounds will be met with the appropriate response.”
Gov. Tate Reeves on Monday said that more than 100 rounds were shot into the crowd before security officers were able to put down the threat.
Gipson said the current state of crime and violence in the Jackson area is bigger than Jackson and bigger than Hinds County. He said it is about safety and security and building walls, and then he referred to the book of Nehemiah in the Bible.
He invited everyone in Mississippi to visit the state fairgrounds on Thursday for a day of prayer and noted there would be a guard on hand.
“We will do what it takes to defend this fairgrounds, and we will do what it takes to defend this city,” Gipson said. “I want to be very clear … we, I and you, and all of the law-abiding citizens and stakeholders in this city, we are at war with the criminal element in this city – nothing less than war.
“They have declared war,” he said. “It is up to us to finish it. We are at war with an increasingly emboldened and increasingly youthful element that have no regard for life, no regard for the law, and they must be stopped.”
Medical marijuana:Medical marijuana opt-out deadline arrives. These are the cities that said no for now
‘Much work yet to be done’:Mississippi demonstrators plan to fight for abortion access
Gipson suggested that harsher sentences be handed down and that there be special judges within the Capitol Complex Improvement District, which the fairgrounds are a part of, to fast-track violent cases.
Gipson, however, on several occasions, said there were adequate security measures in place and that there was nothing more law enforcement on the scene could have done. He also noted that “more and tougher” security measures would be taken in the future.
“I am not going to say what those are at the moment because I don’t want the would-be criminals to know our strategy in this war.”
Ross Reily can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @GreenOkra1.