‘I’m not coming back’: Mudbug Festival attendees share their terrifying experiences from the shooting

Published: May. 1, 2022 at 11:12 PM CDT|Updated: May. 1, 2022 at 11:15 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The final day of the second annual Mudbug Festival was canceled Sunday after a shooting left five people injured and one dead.

Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones and witnesses said it’s all due to the violent actions of teenagers.

Sheriff Jones said the person killed was between 15 and 17 years old and seen wearing a mask. Officers arrested two other juveniles between the ages of 15 and 16 who were inside a vehicle where shots were fired from.

According to Sheriff Jones, the five people injured were hospitalized but are now in stable condition.

People who were at the festival Saturday night when shots were fired said it was a terrifying experience, and the MudBug Festival was the last place they thought they would be unsafe.

Now, they aren’t sure if they will ever visit another festival after Saturday night.

“I see one child with a gun in his pants, and he’s getting ready to pull it out. You look around, and you start to notice. I know I saw at least five to 10 guns, and you look up and see another set of guys with more guns. And they’re all pointing them at each other, and we’re kind of like in the middle,” one mother whose children were stuck on a ride during the shooting said.

“It happened so quick,” said 19-year-old Jaylen. “It was just a lot of shots, and I saw everyone just running.”

Jackson local Jeffery Greer said he saw it all.

“I was at the shale gas station actually flying my drone over, you know, just looking and checking things out and stuff like that. And all of a sudden, I just heard, like, gunfire ringing out,” Greer said.

Prior to the shooting, Greer admits he had a feeling something bad was going to happen.

“I kind of had a feeling something was gonna happen. And to be honest, I didn’t know when but I kind of expected it. Because it was kind of like a little, a couple of fights breaking out and things like that as well,” Greer explained.

Greer said people were sprinting toward the exits to try to get away from the rapid gunfire.

Teenagers were also seen jumping over the fences to escape shooters as parents grabbed their children and hid.

Jaylen was one of those people.

“The first shot that I heard, I just instantly ran with the crowd trying to get away. My first thing is just trying to live, trying to get away from them,” Jaylen said.

He didn’t want his face revealed on camera but said Saturday night’s horrific events will stay with him for a long time.

He said he won’t be back to any Capital City events.

“I’m not coming back to any of these because we just, you don’t know if it’s safe. If it’s not safe here, I’m not going to come back,” Jaylen said.

“I think people, obviously, they’re going to be afraid that this is going to be on their mind, they’re gonna be like, ‘Okay, so I want to come out and have fun with my family. But hey, something might happen,’” Greer said.

Greer and Jaylen both agreed that more security measures should have been taken to protect those who were simply trying to enjoy the festival.

“Safety is a priority at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. I appreciate the rapid response from the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office and the Jackson Police Department. Their quick action in securing the scene prevented others from potentially being hurt,” Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson said in a statement.

Gipson and Michael Lasseter, the acting Director of the Mississippi Fair Commission, both declined to say anything further until MBI concludes its investigation.

They had no answer as to whether security was checking for weapons as people entered the festival.

The motive for the shooting is still unknown.

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