Few details released in post-homecoming shooting that killed three, including JSU student

JPD response, investigation criticized after 3 On Your Side uncovers evidence left behind from detectives
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 9:35 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Conflicting statements from witnesses and police leave an incomplete picture of what happened when gunfire ended a weekend homecoming party, killing three people and injuring three more Sunday morning.

Police identified the homicide victims as 24-year-old Alicia Brown, 22-year-old Elijah Bridges and 20-year-old Deanne Bell.

Bell attended Jackson State University and was a sophomore biology major.

Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes said someone leased the building from its owner for the party, and agreed to provide its own security during the event.

“I was doing security at the back of the club. We was getting ready to close,” said one security guard who worked that night, a man who identified himself only as ‘Mr. Sneed.’

Sneed said he worked for Elite Security and was on his way to the front of Club Rain when bullets started flying.

He said members of a Greek fraternity started shooting at them across the street, outside the club, but didn’t say what led to the gunfire.

JPD maintains the deadly shooting took place inside.

Nearly a dozen bullet holes and pock marks could be seen on the club’s exterior concrete walls.

“The chief needs to be out here saying something. You know it and I know it,” Stokes said.

Chief James Davis hasn’t addressed the incident, though.

His office released a statement hours after the killing on Sunday saying in part “that no agency has the means of preventing” crimes like that and those incidents are “very difficult to predict.”

JPD has also been criticized for its handling of the case thus far, with some claiming the department let the crime scene itself become contaminated and left crucial evidence behind as people would come and go.

A video shot by a patron nearly three hours after the deadly shooting shows items the police didn’t even bag into evidence, like cell phones.

“It’s possible that...we’re only human. It’s dark in that place where we might have missed something,” said Deric Hearn, who serves as deputy chief of investigations for JPD. “But that’s the reason why we went back the next day to research again the additional evidence.”

3 On Your Side found more evidence left behind on Monday -- after JPD had already combed the area twice -- locating two bullets from the shooting.

Officers and a crime scene technician showed up again on Monday to walk the crime scene.

It’s unclear if they bagged those bullets, but they did take clothing, including a jacket and fraternity hoodie from the scene after the event’s DJ tried to walk off with them.

Sneed said he also has doubts about the man police want in connection to the deadly shooting: Jeremy Johnson.

“The man they say was supposed to be doing the shooting was standing right beside me. I ain’t never seen him pose no threats to anybody or try to hurt anyone. When I got ready to walk to the front, that’s when the shots went off, and the guy, I never seen a gun on him or anything,” Sneed said.

JPD also initially released the wrong victim to the public as well, initially saying Daniel Bennett had been shot and killed instead of Deanne Bell.

Minutes after JSU President Thomas Hudson released a statement mourning Bell’s death, Hearn reached out to 3 On Your Side and corrected the error.

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