CANTON, Miss. (WLBT) - Around 9 Sunday night, a birthday block party was in full swing on James Street in Canton with between 60-70 attendees.
“They know not to be having a gathering that large over there anyway,” said Canton Police Chief Otha Brown. Canton requires a permit for any kind of block party.
The Canton Police Department called the Madison County Sheriff’s Department for backup clearing the group. When the people finally dispersed, the police were leaving the scene when the first shots rang out.
“The last deputy in line, which was the last vehicle in line, heard a gunshot. And one struck the passenger side right behind the front passenger seat,” said Sheriff Randy Tucker.
Just an hour later, a Canton police officer was back on James Street, leaving the scene of an illegal ATV on the street. As he left, shots rang out again. At least two bullets hit the car, and the passenger side window was shattered.
There’s a certain kind of person who shoots at a police officer as he leaves the scene, officials said.
“Some thug,” said Brown. “Someone just wants to make a name for themselves.”
“A spineless coward. That’s about the best that I can tell you,” said Tucker.
Brown also alluded to other reasons people have been known to take potshots at cops.
“I don’t know if it’s gang initiation or what it may be, but you just don’t do that,” he said.
Whatever it is, Tucker said, it’s not going to stand.
“We take that personally. That’s an intentional shot at an officer,” he said. “That’s not firing in the air or into the ground to just be heard, that’s a personal attack on law enforcement and we take that seriously.”
So the hunt is on, but the neighborhood is quiet. People don’t have the courage to come forward with information, or they’re living by the misguided rules of the street.
“Somebody seen it. But right now the people are not talking," Brown said. “They can come anonymously and just let us know. Just lead us to it.”
Chief Brown says the shooter may not realize the weight of what they're hiding.
“They’re not taking it seriously, they’re putting a lot of people in danger,” he said.
Tucker said his office has some leads being followed up on currently, and he has a message for the shooter or shooters.
“I can tell them they’d better be ready because when I find out their identity, I’m bringing everybody with me.”