Canton Chief Otha Brown knew the first victim of Tuesday’s shootings in Canton well.
Brown says he watched Jamal Porter play basketball for Canton High School. After Porter was ambushed and shot to death in the Kingston Place Subdivision as he sat in his blue Dodge Charger in the early afternoon on Tuesday, three other people were shot in two additional shootings that evening.
During that scene, police received another call of gunshots on South Canal Street, where a vehicle with four people in it shot two men believed to be connected to Porter’s death. Elijah Williams and another man whose last name is Grant are in critical condition at UMMC as of Wednesday evening. Chief Brown said some suspects from Yazoo County had shot two people and then led police on a high speed chase. Three of the suspects, all juveniles, were caught shortly thereafter.
One of those suspects is 14 years old, police said.
Shamar Body, 17, was shot in the chest later that night. He is in critical condition.
“Canton is not about all this shooting and folks ambushing people and we’re a nice quiet town,” Brown said. “But here lately we’ve turned into just a horrifying town of all this shooting and killing that’s going on. Shooting, killing, and robberies.”
He said he didn’t know if Porter was part of a gang, but he knew he’d been seen in the company of Tyrone Lewis, AKA “Ratchet,” who is the alleged leader of what police say is a local set in Canton. Ratchet, who police say is originally from Memphis, is currently in the Madison County jail, but Brown says it hasn’t stopped him.
“He’s calling shots from jail,” Brown said.
The rival group is allegedly run by a Canton man named Corey Ollie, who was taken into custody on Wednesday on attempted murder charges. The two sets have allegedly been involved in violence not only in Canton, but in other areas of the metro area.
Chief John Neal said on multiple occasions, the violence has spilled over into Ridgeland.
“This is something that’s a little bit unprecedented in Madison County is to have this level of violence that we’re seeing,” Neal said.
On November 5, a 30-year-old man from Canton was shot on Highland Colony Parkway when two vehicles believed to be coming from Walk-On’s sports bar opened fire.
Neal said Lewis is jailed on weapons charges from that November incident. Ollie’s attempted murder charge also stems from that same incident.
“If they want to call themselves gangs, that’s fine. That’s fine,” he said. “Around here we call them thugs and criminals.”
One thing that all law enforcement leaders who know of the two groups agree on at this point is that the violence has to stop.
“If you want to come here with that crap, we’re going to address you like that and put you in jail,” he said. “We’ve got to keep you there, not only for our citizens’ safety but for your safety as well, because there’s going to be more bloodshed over this… and it’s going to continue and continue until finally someone stands up and says, ‘enough is enough.'”