Police investigating Tuesday night gunfire in Natchez

Published 4:43 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2022

NATCHEZ — Downtown Natchez residents were rattled “rapid gunfire” in the middle of the night Tuesday, according to social media reports.

One described what “sounded like an AK-47” in the downtown area.

Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry later confirmed that around 11 p.m. there had been a report of gunshots around the Zipy Food Store at 320 Martin Luther King St., which is also near houses, a church school buildings and several businesses.

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No one who made a report saw where the shots had come from, Daughtry said.

One man went inside the store and before he could come out again his vehicle was struck by bullets, Daughtry said, adding the man stayed inside the store when he heard the gunshots.

“He didn’t see anyone. His vehicle was struck and we recovered multiple shell casings that are being sent to the state crime lab. It’s still under investigation.”

The reason for the shooting remains unclear, as no one with information about it has come forward, Daughtry said.

“They’re reluctant to give us the full story,” he said.

As a result of this and other shooting incidents that have occurred recently, Daughtry said he is working with Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson to strengthen the law about firing weapons within city limits.

“On New Year’s Eve, we had someone shoot a gun into the air and the bullet fell through the ceiling of Magnolia Bluff’s Casino and hit a woman in the back,” Daughtry said. He added that the bullet had slowed down enough that it didn’t puncture or seriously hurt the woman.

“This is troubling to me, which is why I’m working with the mayor now to do something with our city ordinance. … We’re going to change it.”

Daughtry said he was not ready to elaborate on the changes to the city ordinance until he introduces it to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, possibly at the next board meeting.

“I can say that we’re taking this very seriously and we have had a number of conversations about the matter with law enforcement and with our legal authorities,” Gibson said. “That’s all I can say at this time because there is an ongoing investigation.”

Daughtry encouraged anyone with information to contact the Natchez Police Department at 601-445-5565 or Southwest Mississippi Regional Crime Stoppers at 888-442-5001 to leave an anonymous tip.