Crime

Police: Gulfport murder suspect filmed by slain man's security camera

Warren J. Perkins
Warren J. Perkins

GULFPORT -- A man arrested in the fatal shooting of a retired postal worker and Army veteran knew him and was filmed as he left Aaron Wilson's home, a police spokesman said.

Wilson, 63, had a security system at his house on 34th Avenue near Meadowlark Drive.

After his death was reported about 10:34 a.m. Sunday, investigators learned his security camera had taken pictures of a man, later identified as Warren Jevon Perkins, as he fled, police Sgt. Damon McDaniel said.

Police arrested Perkins, 19, at his Gulfport home Sunday night on a second-degree murder charge.

"This was not a random killing," McDaniel said. "They knew each other and the suspect was in the victim's home when it happened."

Wilson was shot in his upper torso inside his house, said McDaniel.

Perkins does not live in Wilson's neighborhood, he said, but how he knew Wilson remains unclear.

Wilson's sisters, who gathered at his home Monday, said they don't know Perkins. And they didn't want to talk about him. They wanted to talk about their family patriarch. Wilson wasn't the eldest of seven siblings, but had assumed the role of patriarch.

"He even named all of the girls in the family, all his nieces," Jeanette Mills said.

Wilson and his siblings grew up in Laurel but the family moved to Gulfport after their grandmother married a Gulfport man.

Wilson had lived on 34th Avenue some 30 years. He had retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years, and later retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 20 years as a mail processor.

"Even in childhood, he told us what to do," Mills said Monday. "Once he realized he couldn't tell us grown-ups what to do, he told the younger family members."

Nieces and cousins who'd gathered in his yard, around freshly planted flowers, nodded their heads in agreement.

"He never married and he never had children. We were his children, us and the younger ones."

She and Sarah Hawthorne, another sister, laughed as they recalled Wilson's sense of humor. But he didn't think twice about giving family members "a talking to," Hawthorne said.

He was enjoying retirement, his sisters said, but he wasn't one to sleep late.

"He'd call you at 3 or 4 in the morning if he wanted to talk to you," niece Arearya Wilson said.

Aaron Wilson's dog barked occasionally Monday in his fenced back yard.

"He loved that dog so," Mills said. "He called her Lazy."

Wilson was known by the nickname of Trouble, but it was a term of endearment. His sisters said he'd never been in trouble.

He'd recently joined Discovery Church. He'd been baptized as a child, but was baptized again the Sunday before he was killed.

"He wanted to know how he could serve God in retirement," Mills said.

His home was where the family usually held celebrations.

"He was the dancer," his niece Arearya said. "He'd try to out dance the younger ones.

"It won't ever be the same."

The siblings' mother died Jan. 14. A brother was killed in a crash in 2002.

"I know he's in heaven with my mother and my sister and my brother," Mills said.

About Perkins

Perkins was held at the Harrison County jail on a $1 million bond set by Justice Court Judge Brandon Ladner.

Perkins also is held on two counts of contempt of court from misdemeanor charges handled in city court, the jail docket shows.

Community loss

Wilson often went to the Palace Grill diner downtown off U.S. 49, where waitresses said he was a fun customer.

He would show up for breakfast or lunch and he always wore a smile, said sisters Lauren Haulsee and Kelli Hawkins, who both had waited on him. They said his favorite food at the diner was fried chicken.

"Oh, my goodness, he always had a smile on his face," Haulsee said.

"He was happy. He'd tell funny stories and he'd video us. And he was always cutting up with my sister."

Wilson would film videos at the diner "like he was doing a television commercial, and he would post it on Facebook," Hawkins said.

"We're all going to miss him."

To give a tip

McDaniel said the investigation continues. To give a tip, call the Gulfport Police Department at 868-5959 or Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898. Or text CSTIP plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES) or go online at mscoastcrimestoppers.com.

Margaret Baker and Kate Magandy, Sun Herald staff writers, contributed to this report.

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