JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The small town of Bogue Chitto is more tight-knit than tight-knit usually is.
When eight people -- all from Bogue Chitto, most family -- were killed in a shooting rampage in May 2017, it was the kind of blow a lot of communities would be destroyed by.
“We as a whole from Bogue Chitto and extended Bogue Chitto have suffered pain. Still trying to figure out why," said Shon Blackwell, whose 18-year-old son Jordan was killed shielding his cousin from a hailstorm of bullets when Cory Godbolt shot his way into their home. "But through it all we still, one thing we’ve all done is keep God first.”
That faith has been the glue that binds those families and that community in a unique and beautiful way, said Tressie Durr, whose husband William was killed in Godbolt’s rampage.
“Throughout the entire trial, time and time again, when I heard the words ‘It’s torn this community apart, this community will never be the same’ -- this community will never be the same, but through God’s grace and through God’s love and through the love of our people in this town, we’ve come together,” she said.
Two years and nine months before the day he was dropped off on death row, as he sat in handcuffs shot in the arm by Ferral Burage on East Lincoln Road, Godbolt spoke of love as if it were a valid excuse to spill blood.
When asked, “Do you want to say why you did all this?” Godbolt replied, “Because I love my wife and love my children. I love my wife and love my children. I love Bogue Chitto.”
But Bogue Chitto says, “No. This is love.” It’s a group of people who could have been torn apart by hate embracing each other as a family, regardless of color, age, or social status. It’s a small town rallying around each other, and a non-profit called “BC Strong” that was born of the tragedy.
It’s the beauty that has been brought from the ashes, Durr says.
“This community is a community of people who love each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, yellow, white, green, we’re going to love on you," she said. "When tragedy strikes, Bogue Chitto comes together.”
And even if you’re not from Bogue Chitto, they’ve got a place for you at the table.
“If you need somebody to cry with, I’m sure we’ve got some tears for you. If you need somebody to pray with, we definitely got a prayer with you," said Blackwell. "So just keep us in your heart as we keep you in our hearts.”