Murder still under investigationPublished 12:01am Monday, January 21, 2013
NATCHEZ — Police are still searching for clues in the Jan. 3 shooting death of a liquor store employee and are hoping residents continue to provide tips on the murder.
Natchez Police Chief Danny White said police have made no arrests in the murder of Tyrone Bernard but are working every day on interviewing persons of interest and checking out tips from residents.
“We will leave no stone unturned, and we’ve been working on it diligently,” White said.
Bernard, 49, 308 1/2 S. Bluebird Drive, was killed after he was reportedly ambushed by four men while closing up DD’s Package Store.
Adams County Coroner James Lee has said Bernard died of a single gunshot wound to the left abdomen.
Bernard’s murder marks the first of 2013, and White said while NPD is working on solving Bernard’s case, it is also awaiting the resolution of murders in 2012.
The city had three murders in 2012, which decreased from the five murders in 2011. That year saw more than double the murders than in 2010, which had only two murders.
Carlos Wright was gunned down outside his Scotts Lane residence March 6, 2012.
Gerald K. Davis, 19, 11 Fifth St., Frederick Hunt Jr., 18, 381 Morgantown Road, and James C. Luster III, 21, 551 W. Stiers Lane, have all been charged with murder in connection with the shooting.
White said he expects the case to go to trial before the end of the month.
Cleveland Ezell Wilson, 41, 11 Pheasant Road, Roxie, was killed by gunfire April 1, 2012, on Caddo Street near East Franklin Street. Cedric Dewayne Ward, 33, 406 Maple St., Vidalia, was charged in the murder but has yet to stand trial.
Erica Holt was shot and killed May 16, 2012, by her husband, Daniel Holt, 35, 382 W. Stiers Lane, while sitting in her car at the Exxon gas station at the intersection of Homochitto Street and John R. Junkin Drive. Erica was an employee at the gas station.
Daniel, who had a long history of violent crimes and domestic violence incidents with Erica, fled the scene after the shooting. When Natchez police and sheriff’s deputies were attempting to apprehend him after he wrecked his car on Melrose Avenue, Daniel shot and killed himself.
Other murders outside the city limits in 2012 were the shooting death of Eyevette Fleming, 46, of Cranfield Road. Fleming was shot on Jan. 8, 2012, by her husband, Frederick Fleming, who later died in jail. Catlin Carithers, a prison guard at the Adams County Correctional Center, was killed in the May 20, 2012, riot at the Corrections Corporation of America prison.
White said the decrease of murders in Natchez in 2012 is not necessarily indicative of a reduction in crime. He said the same would be true if the number of murder had increased.
Murders are a complex crime, White said, and the crime rate is better measured by whether the number of burglaries or robberies increased or decreased.
In 2011, Natchez had 240 burglaries. In 2012 through November, the city had 196 burglaries.
“The numbers for December are not in yet, but we had 11 in December in 2011, so it looks like that particular crime has gone down,” White said.
Whether the crime rate has increased or decreased, White said murders are an unnecessary burden on the families and the community that the police department works every day to prevent.
“All of them are senseless, that’s the way I look at it,” he said.