Crime

One arrested after man shot in his front yard Tuesday night

ROBIN FITZGERALD/SUN HERALD 
 The Rev. Kimble Otis joins hands with family of Chavis Allen as he prays for them at Allen's home. Gulfport police say Allen was shot outside his Dogwood Court home late Tuesday. He died early Wednesday.
ROBIN FITZGERALD/SUN HERALD The Rev. Kimble Otis joins hands with family of Chavis Allen as he prays for them at Allen's home. Gulfport police say Allen was shot outside his Dogwood Court home late Tuesday. He died early Wednesday.

Police have arrested 19-year-old Gary Desean Perkins on a murder charge in the overnight shooting of a resident in North Gulfport’s Turn Key neighborhood.

Chavis Allen, 38, died early Wednesday of a gunshot wound to the chest, Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said.

Police said Allen was shot late Tuesday night in his front yard on Dogwood Court near Holly Circle. They were notified of a shooting at 11:26 p.m., police Sgt. Damon McDaniel said.

Hargrove said Allen died of a gunshot wound to his chest.

He had been taken into surgery at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport and, Hargrove said, but was pronounced dead at 4:23 a.m. Wednesday.

Police have not said how they linked Perkins to Allen’s shooting.

Allen, who was disabled, was the proud father of a 4-year-old girl, relatives said. His daughter didn’t live with him but spent a lot of time with him, they said.

“He had a heart of gold,” his uncle Willie Simmons said. “It just doesn’t make sense,” he said of Allen’s killing.

Relatives said Allen stayed to himself and didn’t bother anybody. They said he had been an athlete at Harrison Central High, playing basketball and football.

Allen loved his daughter

Family members gathered on the front porch of Allen’s home before the heat of the day Wednesday. Several small children played with toys on the porch while older relatives sat or stood and talked or ate food brought by friends.

They said the thing Allen enjoyed most in life was his daughter.

Relatives said they all live around Holly Circle.

Pastor comes to pray

The Rev. Kimble Otis of St. John Missionary Baptist Church came to Allen’s house to pray with his family.

“All I know to do is pray,” Otis said. “I had to get here before I did anything else, to pray with this family, to pray and help console this family during their time of bereavement.”

Several relatives joined hands on the front porch as Otis prayed for strength and comfort.

Otis said he had raised his own children on Holly Circle.

“I’m very much concerned about this neighborhood, this community,” he said. “People need Jesus.”

He said he’s been noticing Facebook posts saying people are “afraid of youth, of stray bullets. People are getting killed each time I turn around. Too much is happening.”

Allen’s death is the city’s fifth homicide since January. A sixth occurred Wednesday morning, less than 2 miles away.

“We have everybody out working on these cases,” McDaniel said.

$1 million bond set

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

Perkins has been jailed on several misdemeanor charges since 2014. The charges include simple assault, false information and four counts of contempt of court, the jail docket shows. The fourth contempt charge was filed along with the murder charge.

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