State, federal agencies now investigating murder of 41-year-old Picayune man

Authorities say they believe the murder is gang-related and that more violence could be coming.

State, federal agencies now investigating murder of 41-year-old Picayune man
Ronald Mark Jr. has been arrested and charged with murder in the death of 41-year-old Craig McDonald. Picayune Police say they believe the shooting was gang-related. (Source: Pearl River Co. Sheriff Dept.)

PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - State and federal agencies are assisting in the investigation of a murder that is believed to be gang-related in Picayune.

Craig Thomas McDonald, 41, was shot and killed Sunday on the corner of Fern Drive and Betsy Drive.

“It’s really hurting us as a whole that something like that could even take place in our community,” said neighborhood resident Tekil Ducre.

The police arrested 41-year-old Ronald M. Mark Jr. on Monday on a murder charge, with other possible suspects on their radar.

Ronald Mark Jr. has been arrested and charged with murder in the death of 41-year-old Craig McDonald. Picayune Police say they believe the shooting was gang-related.
Ronald Mark Jr. has been arrested and charged with murder in the death of 41-year-old Craig McDonald. Picayune Police say they believe the shooting was gang-related. (Source: Pearl River Co. Sheriff Dept.)

“It’s still a very active investigation,” Police Chief Freddy Drennan said.

Officers believe the shooting was gang-related and say they have information that more violence could be coming.

“There may be some people out there wanting to do some retaliation,” Drennan said. “We certainly don’t want anything like that to happen, so we are doing everything we can to bring this to an end.”

To help investigate McDonald’s murder and other gang/drug-related crimes, the police department and the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Office asked for some help from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the FBI and the DEA.

The goal is to crack down on crime before it starts to spread across the region.

“We are concerned about it, not only in the county but we are concerned about what could happen in the city,” Sheriff David Allison said.

Both officials and residents hope that the law enforcement partnership creates a safer city to live in.

“That’s good news. I’m glad they are getting involved,” resident Johnnie Frazier said.

Frazier has been living in Picayune for the past 15 years, choosing the city for its calm reputation.

Now, he and other residents said there needs to be more protection for vulnerable people in the area.

“There are a lot of senior citizens here. A lot of children here too, and it’s not good for the children. I’m sure it’s affecting them,” he said.

Other neighbors call for an end to the violence, with the hope that Sunday’s tragedy won’t happen again.

“There was a father that was taken. There was a life that was a life that was taken,” resident Tekil Ducre said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Picayune Police Department at 601-798-4682. Anonymous tips can also be made to Crime Stoppers online or by calling 601-799-CLUE.

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