Crime

Update: Victim in North Gulfport shooting dies; second homicide in 13 hours

Man with gunshot wound in chest found in street in Gulfport

Gulfport Police Sgt. Damon McDaniel gives the information available involving a shooting near the intersection of 34th Avenue and Ganges Street in Gulfport on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, that left a man with at least one gunshot wound to his chest.
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Gulfport Police Sgt. Damon McDaniel gives the information available involving a shooting near the intersection of 34th Avenue and Ganges Street in Gulfport on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, that left a man with at least one gunshot wound to his chest.

A man who died on a North Gulfport street was apparently trying to run from someone when he was shot and wounded, police said.

Stanton Saunders, 21, of Gulfport, died of a gunshot to the chest at 12:09 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said.

Saunders was the second man shot to death in Gulfport in a span of 13 hours. His death is the city’s sixth homicide this year.

He was found on 34th Avenue at Ganges Street about 11:30 a.m., police Sgt. Damon McDaniel said. Police had been called about a shooting at Kentucky Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, he said.

Firefighters from Station 12 just down the street reached Saunders first and gave emergency medical aid until an American Medical Response ambulance arrived. They all acted quickly, McDaniel said, and Saunders was taken to a hospital.

Police believe it’s possible Saunders was running from Kentucky Avenue off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, McDaniel said.

“Some witnesses saw him running,” he said.

Police stretched crime-scene tape from the playground behind Isiah Fredericks Community Center on Kentucky across an empty lot and just past 34th Avenue to Ganges.

Crime-scene investigators used a metal detector to look for evidence in the cordoned-off area.

Police seek tips

"We don't know why it happened, who did it or if they knew each other. That's why we're asking the public for assistance," McDaniel said.

To give a tip, call police investigators at 868-5934. Or call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898 or give a tip online at www.mscoastcrimestoppers.com.

'Police came flying'

Senaritha Freeman said she was driving to the community center to exercise when she saw a man, later identified as Saunders, lying in the road. She said several cars were ahead of her and probably saw him, too.

“I thought maybe he had just collapsed,” she said. “I didn’t have time to call police. Police came flying.”

The shooting was a few blocks from where another man had been shot Tuesday night. He died of his wounds early Wednesday morning.

Freeman said she had just heard of the death from Tuesday night’s shooting.

“Oh, Lord have mercy, Jesus,” she said.

Crowd gathers

Police said a crowd of people immediately gathered near where Saunders had been shot.

“Most in this neighborhood come out to see when something like this happens,” McDaniel said. “We always want to ask if anyone saw anything.”

Mary Carter drove to the crime scene. She said she’d seen a Facebook post identifying the victim as Saunders, though the coroner had not yet released his name.

“Is it Stan?” she said. “Stan Saunders? Did he have dreadlocks? Is he really dead?”

Carter said she knows Saunders and his family from Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church in the Gaston Point community.

“He was out there doing his thing, but he was a cool dude,” she said. “Really a cool dude.

“He always gave my children dollar bills. He was good to my children. And his children, too.”

Amanda McCoy, Sun Herald photo journalist, contributed to this report.

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