Disputes culminated in shooting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

VIDALIA — Vidalia Police are seeking information about an early Saturday morning shooting that may have spawned from juvenile activity at the Relay for Life site.

At present, all police know for sure is that a 17-year-old male was shot in the upper right shoulder on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at approximately 2 a.m., Police Chief Ronnie G. “Tapper” Hendricks said.

“There were reports of gunfire, and when we showed up everybody dispersed and scattered,” he said.

When questioned, people in the area said they did not see anything, Hendricks said.

The victim was taken to Natchez Regional Medical Center by private means and was later transported to a Jackson-area hospital, Hendricks said.

Because the police did not recover any shell casings in the incident, a revolver handgun could have been used, he said.

The police chief said that investigators were going to talk with the victim Monday.

It was unclear if the victim was involved in the incident or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the Vidalia Police at 318-336-5254.

Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is near the Relay for Life site, and Relay was ongoing at the time of the incident.

Miss-Lou Relay for Life Chair Bridgid Martin said the incident did not disturb Relay.

Hendricks said the police had to deal with a number of unattended juveniles who went to Relay after congregating on Vidal Street and crossing the levee to the Relay site.

“Their intentions were not for Relay for Life,” he said. “It wasn’t for the cause.”

The police chief said he believes something happened in the group of people on the levee that may have served as a pre-curser to the shooting.

“Some of the people congregating on the levee, I thing something happened there,” he said. “I don’t know if they wanted to meet there to have their beef or what.”

Hendricks said changes would be made for Relay security next year, and that he would advocate moving the event to a location where it could be more easily secured.