When a carnival comes to town, people expect to have some fun. Almost no one expects the carnival to be a catalyst for criminal behavior and chaos. The carnival currently on the parking lots of the Tupelo Furniture Market at 1879 Coley Road turned out Saturday night to provide a backdrop for criminality and chaos.
The Tupelo Police Department was called out around 9 p.m. to investigate a series of incidents that may or may not be related. The initial call was to stop a disturbance caused by a number of “juveniles arguing and fighting,” according to a TPD press release regarding the department’s response. There were also reportedly shots being fired.
Three juveniles – two girls and a boy – were detained for the disturbance. They were subsequently released to their parents by the Lee County Youth Court. Charges, according to the release, are pending.
A loaded shotgun was found lying in the parking area; the owner could not be ascertained so police confiscated the weapon.
At the same time of these incidents, a car was found to have run into the south side of TFM Building 1. A witness after the fact said two girls jumped from or were ejected from the vehicle prior to it hitting the wall at a high rate of speed. The girls were transported to the emergency room at North Mississippi Medical Center with apparently non-life-threatening injuries. The vehicle caused major damage to the building’s exterior, leaving a large hole in the structure.
At least one other motor vehicle collision was reported in the area around the same time as the other incidents. Police said they have seen social media posts blaming the Saturday night events on gang activity but none of that has been confirmed.
If you have information about the Saturday night melee, call the TPD at (662) 841-6492 or CrimeStoppers at (800) 773-TIPS.
The TPD press release ends with this statement: “We at TPD are encouraging anyone with influence to guide our youth to making better choices. The senseless violence that we have seen recently cannot become the new normal.”