2 teens sought for viral video sexual assault
Two teenagers wanted in connection with viral video posted on Facebook Live that shows the sexual and physical assault of a woman are in police custody, according to the Gulfport Police Department
Haleigh Alexis Hudson, 19, turned herself into police around 7 p.m. Wednesday. She was arrested on charges of felony kidnapping and sexual assault.
Ezzie Johnson, 17, was arrested by police around 8 p.m. Wednesday. He faces a charge of felony kidnapping.
Harrison County Justice Court Judge Brandon Ladner set Hudson’s bond at $400,000. Johnson’s bond was set by Ladner at $200,000.
Hudson and Johnson are held at the Harrison County jail.
Officers at 11:46 p.m. Tuesday responded to a report of an assault on the 3100 block of 7th Avenue and learned a woman was sexually and physically assaulted while being recorded on Facebook Live.
Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said officers worked through the night and obtained warrants for Johnson and Hudson.
Johnson, who will be charged as an adult, is accused of filming the video at Hudson’s home.
The victim is a 23-year-old woman. Papania said additional charges of abusing a vulnerable adult would apply if the victim is mentally handicapped.
He said he does expect additional arrests.
The viral video was removed from Facebook, but a copy of the video was posted Wednesday morning. It has gotten around 48,000 views on Facebook, Papania said.
“I can’t help but be disturbed by the incredible numbers of shares and views of this crude and despicable event,” he said.
“We videotape pain and suffering, then we share it and then we view it over and over.”
Papania addressed comments from the public about police taking too long to issue a statement on the case.
“Criminal acts require we properly investigate and collect evidence,” Papania said. “We will continue to work at the speed of proper police work. We will not work at the speed of Facebook.
Papania also thanked the community for calling police to give tips about the case.
“Our phones have rung off the hook with people trying to help us in this criminal investigation,” Papania said.