Crime

Gulfport Woman says her slain uncle 'brought the love and laughter'

COURTESY ALEXIS WEATHERSBY 
 Mitchell Weathersby is shown in this undated family photo. He was shot to death in North Gulfport on April 6. His brother and another man were wounded.
COURTESY ALEXIS WEATHERSBY Mitchell Weathersby is shown in this undated family photo. He was shot to death in North Gulfport on April 6. His brother and another man were wounded.

GULFPORT -- Mitchell Weathersby always told his nieces and nephews to do their best, a relative said Tuesday.

He was killed April 6 and his brother and another man were wounded in a shooting on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Louisiana Avenue.

Weathersby, 54, was found wounded in a car that hit a utility pole on the opposite side of U.S. 49. His family believes he was trying to drive to a hospital. Police found his brother and the third man wounded on MLK and Louisiana.

Weathersby was living in the neighborhood of North Gulfport with his mother, in the home the family has lived in since Hurricane Camille, said Alexis Weatherby, one of his nieces.

"He was a big family man," she said, describing him as an encourager -- intelligent, kind and compassionate.

And when it came to family get-togethers, "he was the one who always brought the love and laughter," she said. "He always gave the tightest hugs. And he always told me he loved me.

"He always encouraged us nieces and nephews to be our best, to strive to be better. He wanted more for us than what he had for himself."

The children in the family had nicknamed him Uncle Mitt.

Mitchell Weathersby had been dealing with health problems and had moved back with his mother.

"He took her to and from work," she said. "He took her to her doctor appointments. He took her grocery shopping. Wherever she needed to go."

He enjoyed doing research at the library. His niece said neighbors had nicknamed him Fundamentals.

"He could talk about everything, from politics to religion," she said.

Any time a family member needed something, she said, he was there.

The last time she saw him alive, he was helping her with the rear tires on her car.

"He replaced my tires for me and said, 'That's what family's for,'" she said. "And he told my boyfriend he better take care of me."

Alexis Weathersby said her uncle wasn't one to get out on the street at night. He was usually on the couch by 5 p.m. or in bed.

The family believes young people tried to rob his brother, believing he had money, the niece said.

A GoFundMe.com account has been set up to help pay funeral expenses. Fifteen people had donated $1,100 within two days by Tuesday afternoon.

Alexis Weathersby said the family especially appreciates prayers.

"I don't think my uncle had too many regrets," she said. "I think he knew that he probably could have accomplished more in life. That's why he kept reminding us nieces and nephews to strive to do the best we can do."

Funeral arrangements are pending.

She said her other uncle, who was hospitalized along with the other wounded man, is stable.

Mitchell Weathersby is Gulfport's second person slain in 2016. The third was Dennis Bunch, 27, who was shot Saturday in an apartment parking lot on 31st Street at 23rd Avenue.

By this time last year, four homicides had been reported in Gulfport.

No arrests have been made in the two latest killings.

Police have released no details or motives, but have asked anyone with tips to call 868-5959.

Or tipsters can call Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898, text CSTIP plus a message to 274637 (CRIMES) or at mscoastcrimestoppers.com.

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