Murder investigations continue

This past year, 15 homicides occurred in the City of Greenville, up from 12 the previous year.

Of those, six remain unsolved, said Greenville Assistant Police Chief Michael Merchant.

Police have yet to name a motive or suspect in the shooting deaths of 39-year-old Christopher Beal, 32-year-old Dexter Morris, 16-year-old Nadarius Freeman, 17-year-old Michael Moore, 25-year-old Gerald Kelly and 25-year-old Javonte Wallace.

On May 9, Beal and Morris were shot in the 400 block of Maple Street.

Morris died on scene. Beal was taken to Delta Regional Medical Center before being airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center where he later died from his injuries.

On Oct. 19, Freeman was shot and killed in the 400 block of Robertshaw Street. There, officers found Freeman on a bicycle and he appeared to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

One month after Freeman’s shooting, another teenager, Moore, was shot in the 1000 block of West Alexander Street and died from a single gunshot.

On Nov. 7, Kelly was shot and killed in the 400 block of Second Street.

The most recent unsolved murder is the Dec. 17 shooting on Central and Theobald streets. Wallace and a 37-year-old black male were found shot inside a vehicle that had crashed into a utility pole and caught fire.

Wallace died at the scene while the other victim was transported to a hospital in critical condition.

Despite the number of murders rising this year, Wilson said the homicide cases that remain open are actively being investigated.

“Murder is the hardest crime to prevent. It’s the most unpredictable crime because you are dealing with a humanist nature,” he said. “We have prevented a lot of crimes because of the work that our detectives and patrol officers do in gathering information.”

In addition, tips that come into the department are always investigated and could potentially help a case, Wilson said.

“Sometimes people don’t realize that small bit of information that they give us leads to prevention of a really bad crime or an arrest,” he said.

“We could use more people buying into helping our community... It’s one collective job.”

In an effort to help reduce firearms that could be used in a crime this year, Wilson said the department plans to hold two Gas for Guns events, where residents can turn in guns for gift cards.

“I know people don’t understand. They think the gun buyback service is a waste of time. That’s a gun that doesn’t even get stolen,” he said.

Residents can also help by being proactive and making sure their weapons don’t fall in the wrong hands by leaving them unsecured in a vehicle, Wilson said.

“We preach to citizens about not leaving your weapons in your car. You have a lot of weapons stolen out of cars,” he said.

Anyone with information about the homicides is asked to call the Greenville Police Department at 662-378-1515 or Crimestoppers at 662-378-TIPS.

Anonymous tips can also be sent by texting TIP WASHCOUNTY to 888777.