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‘We’re coming for you and we’re not playing’ | U.S. Attorney announces new partnership to curb violent crime in Jackson

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 4:19 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Law enforcement leaders had one message for criminals Thursday: “We’re coming for you.”

In the wake of another record year for homicides in the city of Jackson, local and federal law enforcement officials are coming together to begin a new initiative to help get violent criminals off the streets.

U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca announced the “Violent Gun Reduction and Interdiction Program” via a video message Thursday.

The announcement comes days after the end of what was the city’s deadliest year on record in terms of homicides, including the shooting deaths of numerous teens and young adults.

“Homicides in the city of Jackson have increased to record levels in the past two years. We’re seeing businesses robbed at gunpoint, cars taken at gunpoint, disputes handled by gunfire,” LaMarca said. “This initiative will address the perpetrators of this violence and will be led by the FBI.”

U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca announces new initiative to fight crime in Jackson.

LaMarca was joined by Jackson Police Chief James Davis, Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens, and Jermicha Fomby, special agent in charge of the FBI in Jackson.

Fomby said the FBI and its partners are going to take steps to curb the crime by saturating the street and prosecuting those involved in gun crimes to the “fullest extent of the federal law.”

“Whether of use of guns for carjackings, business robberies, as well as other heinous acts... The bottom line is, that no matter who you are, no matter where you are, there are no jurisdiction lines that will prevent us from coming for you,” he said.

“We will saturate the streets to... aggressively, strategically and proactively rid and mitigate the rise of violent crime in Jackson.”

Jackson Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote has been pushing for the Lumumba administration to accept more federal help for months. He was pleased to hear about the initiative.

“That’s great... This is a great development. We need to bring in the heavy artillery to get our streets under the control of law enforcement,” he said. “They’ve been under the control of the hooligans for too long.”

This is not the first time Jackson has received federal help. In 2019, approximately 100 people were arrested as part of the Project EJECT initiative.

Individuals arrested and charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office are tried in federal court. If they’re convicted, they must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence, with no option for parole or a suspended sentence.

At least 153 homicides had been reported in the city for 2021, making it not only the deadliest year on record but giving Jackson a higher murder rate per capita of any major city in the U.S.

For his part, LaMarca said his office would prosecute business robberies, carjackings, those who are involved in drug trafficking, and those who enlist the help of minors to commit violent crimes.

“If you’re a member of a gang, and other members of your gang commit violent crimes, whether they’re state or federal, you will be prosecuted under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which everyone knows as RICO,” the U.S. attorney said. “You will be held responsible for the acts of your other gang members.”

LaMarca said his office will also prosecute individuals who are not allowed to possess firearms under federal statute.

Owens backed up LaMarca’s sentiments, putting offenders and potential offenders on notice, and encouraging residents, telling them “help is on the way.”

“I want the citizens to know that we have your back,” Owens said. “And all those individuals who have been committing crimes in our community to know that we’re coming for you, and we’re not playing.”

The initiative is already paying dividends. As of Thursday, LaMarca reported that 13 individuals had cases pending or had been indicted in the federal system as a result of the program.

Davis said the partnership is a “force multiplier, where you’re having all of our partners in law enforcement coming together to address the increase in violent crime.”

“Citizens, bad actors, be aware. Once we come in contact with you, we’re going to develop a solid case against you. We’re going to hand that case over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution,” he said.

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