COLUMBUS A legacy of violence continues to follow a group of friends on the Columbus Northside.
Just after 1 a.m. Saturday, emergency responders were called to the intersection of Peach Street and Cherry Street in the Frog Bottom community for a reported shooting with one victim. On scene, officers with the Columbus Police Department found 22 year old Tevin Harris suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
Harris, 24 year old Joshua Richardson and a third, unidentified friend were at the intersection when a white car with four black male occupants reportedly approached the group and opened fire on the three. The suspect vehicle fled the scene. Harris suffered five gunshots from a 9mm handgun, while the unidentified friend escaped unscathed. Richardson could not be found after the shooting. With gunshot wounds to his legs, back and one arm, Harris was rushed to Baptist Memorial Hospital Golden Triangle before being air lifted to Jackson for further treatment. While he was being treated on scene, the victim received continued verbal support from his friends and neighbors. Encouragements of “Keep your head up, bruh!” and “T! You gonna be fine, man!” filled the night air as Harris prayed to the night sky.
After responders cleared the scene and investigators set in to process the scene, Richardson’s family had still not heard from the young man. Approximately five hours after the incident, as the sun began to light the area, Richardson’s body was found nearby. It appeared that he was shot during the assault and fell in among several bushes behind an apartment building on Peach Street.
Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant was called to the scene to retrieve the body.
Both Harris and Richardson were close friends of Alexander “Slugger” Brown, who was killed on Labor Day 2012 just a few blocks away from the scene of Saturday morning’s shooting. Both victims had recently lamented their dead friend’s passing on Facebook with Richardson referring to September as “the worst time of the year.”
Just minutes after Harris was loaded into an ambulance on scene, a Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper spotted the suspect vehicle on the Highway 82 Bypass and attempted to make a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle, who was now alone, initially stopped but then fled the scene. The suspect lead the trooper on an extended car chase into downtown Columbus, at times reaching speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour through residential neighborhoods. The chase eventually reached 10th Street North. As the fleeing vehicle reached the intersection of 10th Street and 10th Avenue North, the driver lost control and plowed his car into a ditch. The driver, soon identified as 24-year-old Quinton Erby, was quickly apprehended and placed in the back of the trooper’s car.
Several officers responding to the area heard the tell-tale hiss of a leaking gas line at the point of the crash. Atmos Energy was called to the area and a one block perimeter was set around the wreck. Erby was rushed to the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center with several deputies following to assist in case the runner put up an additional struggle at the jail. Erby was charged with speeding, driving without head lights, reckless driving, two counts of failure to yield to emergency vehicles, two counts of disobeying traffic control devices, improper lane usage, driving under the influence, probation violation, murder and aggravated assault manifest extreme indifference to life. He is being held without bond.
On Sunday, the Columbus Police Department arrested 20-year-old Devonte Dequan Jones and charged him with murder and aggravated assault. Jones and Attorney Monique Montgomery met with Columbus police investigators and Jones was arrested without incident.
Early Friday evening, a concerned citizen called Lowndes E-911 to request a close patrol of the Frog Bottom area over the weekend, specifically naming Peach Street as a place of concern. The caller advised that they were worried that someone was going to be shot in connection to past shootings in the area. While Columbus Police did patrol the area, the shooting fell between two of the late night ride throughs.
After Tevin Harris was shot, it points to the “previous shooting” as being the murder of Virgil “Prince” Harris last December.
Virgil Harris was killed during a robbery in the 300 block of 21st Street North, believed to be over gambling winnings. Tevin Harris was implicated in the murder, but was never arrested in connection. If this shooting was in retaliation for the murder of “Prince”Harris, it would seem that Joshua Richardson took a bullet not meant for him.
The shooting is still under investigation. Anyone with any information on this case is asked to call the Columbus Police Department or Crimestoppers.