‘You do not retreat, and you do not give up your ground’ | Comm. Andy Gipson addresses Mudbug Festival shooting

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 9:54 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson addressed crime in the capital city in the aftermath of the Mudbug Festival shooting that occurred on Saturday, April 30.

“There was an incident at our family-friendly crawfish festival,” Gipson explained.

“It was tragically interrupted by a group of underage criminals.”

Dozens of law enforcement officers from multiple agencies responded to the Mississippi Fairgrounds late Saturday night after shooters opened fire at the event near the Mississippi Trade Mart around 10 p.m.

Deputies arrested Calvin Berry, 15, and Leedrick Trim, 16, and booked them at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center.

Hinds County Court Judge Johnnie McDaniels denied bond for Berry and Trim on Wednesday. The two will remain behind bars at least until their initial hearing.

“The crime wave that has plagued Jackson, Mississippi has crashed within the gates of the state fairgrounds as of Saturday night. This is totally and completely unacceptable.”

Gipson explained that security officers at the fairgrounds will respond quickly and effectively to any event. He advised that any “would-be criminals” need to understand that “any lawlessness will be met with the appropriate response.”

Gipson expressed his sympathy for the victims that were caught in the crossfire.

“Thankfully the one person that lost their life was not one of the innocent bystanders, but one of the shooters. That’s unfortunate, and our hearts go out to that family as well.”

Gipson says that from his own personal experiences working in the downtown Jackson area for over 20 years that much has changed.

“The threats are real. They are ever-growing, and it is a problem that we cannot afford to overlook.”

Gipson said that there are plans for more renovations at the fairgrounds and that the events on Saturday night will not hinder these plans.

“This is bigger than the fairgrounds. This is about the city. This is bigger than the city it’s about the county. It’s bigger than the county because it’s about the state of Mississippi. It’s about rebuilding the walls of safety and security within this capital city.”

The commissioner pulled in references from the Bible to allude to Nehemiah who was called to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.

“It’s clear that not everyone wanted to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.”

After pulling verses from the Bible, Gipson assured that the city will not be hindered, and encouraged citizens to attend a day of prayer at the Mississippi Coliseum on Thursday, to pray for the “peace of the city and the rebuilding of the walls.”

Gipson also took the time to thank law enforcement officers for their response to Saturday’s incident.

“They acted heroically and quickly and ended the threat in about two minutes or so. These officers are heroes and they did what had to be done.”

In citing the crime wave in Jackson, Gipson said that all “law-abiding citizens are at war with the criminal element in Jackson.”

According to Gipson, many have suggested that the fairgrounds should be abandoned and moved to another place. However, Gipson stated that unless the legislature changes the law, the fairgrounds must remain in Jackson. He also alluded to comments and suggestions about moving the State Capitol, abandoning the city as a whole, and starting over.

“I totally disagree with that sentiment,” Gipson remarked.

In keeping with war rhetoric, Gipson explained that when in war, “you do not retreat, and you do not give up your ground.”

“To give up and walk away, and to not defend this city would result in criminals bleeding over into surrounding neighborhoods, counties, and cities.”

Gipson also explained that there are security plans in place for every event, however, he chose to withhold the details out of fear of " falling into criminal hands.”

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