The first weekend of fall had a tragic beginning for the residents of Southern View Apartments on Southern Avenue in Biloxi.
Biloxi police responded to a shooting about 6:20 a.m. Saturday in the 1880 block of Southern Avenue. The complex is at the eastern end of the street.
Biloxi police Lt. Christopher De Back said officers found a man with a gunshot wound. He was taken by ambulance to Merit Health Biloxi.
Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said Michael Woods, 41, died of a gunshot wound to the chest at 7:20 a.m.
De Back said police have taken Biloxian Orlando Newell, 29, into custody in Woods’ shooting death.
De Back said the two were acquaintances, and that Newell had a prior dispute with Woods. De Back said Newell approached Woods on Saturday and fired several shots at him.
Police found Newell near Pass Road and Agincourt Avenue, De Back said, and arrested him on a charge of murder.
He is held at the Harrison County jail. Justice Court Judge Bruce Strong did not set bail for Newell, who is out on bond on a charge of possession of stolen firearm.
Joe Serna, who lives in the apartment above where Woods was shot, said: “I was asleep at the time of the shooting. It sounded like someone was pounding on the window.”
Serna pointed to the sidewalk area between the apartment building and the parking lot where first responders had recently cleaned the crime scene, saying, “There was a lot of blood.”
A child’s riding toy was propped on an old tire near where Woods’ blood had been wiped away.
The buildings at Southern View contain eight apartments. Each building has four entrances, two upstairs and two downstairs.
Serna’s Dodge Dakota pickup was in the parking lot near the crime scene. He said police told him shell casings were found under his truck and nearby.
“Everybody was coming down the stairs after the shooting and they were yelling and screaming,” Serna said. “The police told me (Woods) was shot with a 9 mm pistol.”
A group of children and adults gathered at the apartment building next to the one where Woods was shot and watched as police investigators interviewed witnesses.
Police Sgt. O’Neal Adams was searching a Chrysler 200 about 10:30 a.m. for a reported gun. Adams did not find a gun in the car.
De Back and other investigators were conducting interviews into Saturday morning, including some apartment residents who police believe were related to Woods.
The shots could be heard about a block away.
“I heard five shots this morning,” said Billy Colston, resident at Cabana Courtyard in the 1900 block of Southern Avenue. “I heard one shot and then I heard four more shots, and about five minutes later, I saw the police coming.”