View Full Version : fight over ice sparks shooting

09-01-2005, 07:37 PM
Fight over ice sparks shooting
Police work hard to keep law and order


By Erin Hilsabeck

Johnny Holsey couldn't believe what he heard as he stood in line for ice at the Big Star grocery store at Edwards and James streets.

Only a few blocks away from where he lives, a woman had been shot and killed the night before following a fight over a bag of ice, witnesses said.

"That ain't no good," said Holsey as he used a washcloth to mop his brow. "I just don't understand how someone could do that. We're supposed to be helping each other, not killing each other."

Police still are piecing together information about the shooting, but Chief David Wynn said Wednesday that Antonio Page, 35, shot his sister in the head with a small-caliber handgun. Wynn would not release the woman's name, but said Page is being held in the Forrest County Jail.

Wynn said the shooting occurred after an altercation between Page and the victim's boyfriend.

"Tempers are short," Wynn said. "But I'm surprised that this happened. I can't even understand how a brother could take that step."

Many Hattiesburg residents and refugees have lived without air-conditioning for days, and the intense summer heat leaves people increasingly edgy. Researchers say crime tends to increase in the summer months because warm weather agitates individuals, causing them to be more violent.

Wynn didn't know how much the heat actually contributed to the Tuesday shooting.

"We hope nothing more like this happens, but you never can tell," Wynn said.

Police have tried to reduce violence as much as they can, said Robin Walker, HPD spokeswoman. At the Lake Terrace Convention Center, where bags of ice were distributed Wednesday, police and members of the Mississippi National Guard only allowed people in vehicles to receive ice.

"It's for riot control," said Lt. Mark Berry with the HPD, saying that the last thing they want is for people to storm the trucks to grab the 30-pound bags of ice.

John Chullin, a truck driver for Landstar, drove one of the 18-wheelers packed with ice. He said he's driven through many disaster areas in the last two years. Landstar has a contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Chullin said, so he's helped transfer ice and water to towns hit by hurricanes Charlie, Ivan, Dennis, Emily, and now, Katrina.

"People get really stressed out when everything they had is suddenly gone," Chullin said. "Last year, I heard about someone who was shot over a tank of gas. It's unreal."

Julie Barnes was helping manage the people standing in line for gas and supplies at an Exxon station on U.S. 98. She said a woman brought a gun into the station, but employees asked her to leave and she did. The station was one of the few that had power and gas available Wednesday.

"We have called the police to come because of the mass confusion," Barnes said.

Walker said officers are working around the clock to maintain the public's safety. But shootings like the one that occurred Tuesday night are unacceptable, she said.

"These are situations that are not necessary," Walker said. "All we can ask is that people be patient. This is not the time to act unreasonably."

* Hattiesburg American staff writer Lindy Sholes contributed to this report.

Originally published September 1, 2005