LEXINGTON, MS (WLBT) - A recent increase in violence is leaving residents and business owners concerned for their safety in a small Holmes County town.
The latest incident was in Lexington’s town square, where gunfire sent bullets flying.
A Lexington businessman said around 6:45 p.m. Thursday, he was moving the courthouse lawn when he witnessed an altercation between two groups of teenagers.
Shots were fired and hours later his hardware store was burglarized.
"Best way to describe it is chaos," said Michael Lawshe, owner of Thurmond's True Value in Lexington.
His surveillance system captured a portion of the incident.
The hardware store owner said during a brawl involving teenagers, one opened fire on the crowd and then shot at a passing black Camaro.
A turquoise Chevy Cavalier and an older model Mercury Grand Marquis were also reportedly involved.
Lawshe counted 11 shell casings. One bullet entered and exited the Lexington Coffee Company.
“This is the third shooting I’ve been involved with in the past two weeks,” said Lawshe. “It’s not looking good for the city unless there’s a pretty major change in the near future.”
Hours later, shortly before 4:00 a.m., Lawshe’s hardware store was burglarized.
“See he’s got stuff in his hands there,” said Lawshe, pointing to a man in the surveillance video.
The store’s glass door was shattered by a concrete block. Two men can be seen inside the store.
“They took a couple of handguns and some ammunition, a few other odds and ends,” added Lawshe. “Back in August they broke in they stole a Polaris Ranger. It’s valued around $15,000.00. That’s never been solved.”
Lexington Police Chief Robert Kirklin said investigators have identified a suspect.
He reports that there has been a recent spike in crime, including drive by shootings, shootings into cars and the theft of guns.
The chief said teens are involved and drugs play a major role.
"I told the investigator about 20 times this morning to go ahead and dust that drawer. Never did," added the business owner.
Lawshe is angry and frustrated by the police response to his burglary and the overall crime issues in the city.