Community responds to shooting of Natchez teen

Published 12:03 am Thursday, January 29, 2015

NATCHEZ — Weeks after a Natchez teen was gunned down allegedly by two other teens, community members and civic leaders plan to discuss how such violence can be stopped in the future.

“I had a feeling that a few weeks after this child was dead, everyone would stop talking about it, and that’s what happened,” said Tracy A. Collins, who leads the Adams County Adolescent Offender Program. “Everyone has moved on.

“We want to sound the alarm and get folks talking about these issues.”

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Collins helped organize the event following the death of Jessie Taylor Jr., who was shot and killed during an altercation in late December with two other Natchez teenagers.

Collins said the gathering, dubbed “Natchez-Adams students against violence workshop,” comes at a critical time for the Natchez community.

“There is an escalation of youth violence in our society as well as in the local community,” Collins said. “It’s going to be the local community’s responsibility to do what they can to figure out a solution to all this.”

The workshop, which is open to the public, will be hosted at 9 a.m. at the Freshman Academy, located at the former Central Alternative School on Lynda Lee Drive, and at 2:30 p.m. at Natchez High School.

Speakers include Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield, former MLB player Nook Logan and local pastor Bryant Herbert, who preaches at Triumphant Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Natchez-Adams School District students will also perform several skits regarding youth violence throughout the presentations.

Collins said he’s been disappointed with the lack of community response since Taylor’s death and hopes the meetings will begin a positive dialogue on ending youth violence throughout the area.

Collins is also organizing a roundtable discussion in February between community leaders, local pastors and others.

Natchez police say Taylor was attempting to purchase synthetic marijuana from Eddie Minor III, 18, and Emanuel C. Latham Jr., 15, when a scuffle broke out as the two teenagers allegedly attempted to rob Taylor.

Police said Minor and Latham shot Taylor, who was transported to Natchez Regional Medical Center where medical personnel made several attempts to revive him before he was pronounced dead.

Both Minor and Latham have been charged with armed robbery and murder. Though Latham is a minor, he will be charged as an adult.