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Gulfport police began an investigation Friday into the shooting death of a man in a shed outside a home off Hewes Avenue in the 500 block of 26th Street.
Police responded around 9 a.m. to a report of a shooting death at the small white-framed home with a flat top roof that sits less than a block away from St. James Baptist Church.
Shania Russell lives at the home but said she and others did not hear any gunshots when the killing occurred in the early-morning hours Friday.
She and relatives of the deceased identified him as Eric Harris.
Russell said she first heard someone yelling outside, saying “’Eric is dead.’”
“We didn’t even know it had happened,” Russell said, but once they realized he had been shot to death, someone called to report the shooting.
Russell was surprised by the news because she said Harris seemed to be very a likeable person in the area.
“He was always trying to help out,” she said. “He was very nice. If we needed anything, he’d be the one to help. He was very sweet to everybody.”
Police Chief Leonard Papania confirmed the homicide — now the fifth reported in 2019 compared to a total of four homicides in 2018.
It’s also the second shooting at the same address since January 2018, when a man was shot in the leg in the front yard.
Police said then that two men were involved in an ongoing dispute and one was found with a non-life threatening gunshot wound.
After that shooting, neighbors told the Sun Herald they could hear the victim pleading with more than one person as they kicked him before he was shot.
Police were looking for Marvin Ray McMillian on a charge of aggravated assault, but when they attempted to arrest him in March, he barricaded himself inside a home on Cleveland Avenue.
Negotiators spoke with him for about four hours before he started firing shots at officers, police said.
Officers returned fire and McMillian died at the scene.
Anyone with information in any of the cases should contact the Gulfport Police Department 228-868-5959 or you can remain anonymous by contacting Crimestoppers at www.mscoastcrimestoppers.com or calling 1-877-787-5898.