Clarke County Reacts to Violence

Known as the man who would voluntarily pick up trash on Quitman's streets, Alderman Robert Donald is lucky to be alive after being assaulted Saturday night. It happened just after 9:00 p.m. at his camphouse, less than two-thirds of a mile from the Clarke County Sheriff's Department.

While there alone, four suspects, described as Black and believed to be in their mid-to-late thirties, are said to have broken into Donald's camphouse, armed with a rifle. Donald was beaten with the gun and a bat.

Investigators say only Donald's wallet was stolen. He remains in a Jackson hospital where he had to receive 100 stitches to the head.

In response to this a growing number of burglaries and assaults in Quitman and the county at large, including one in a church parking lot last week, the Quitman Board of Aldermen, along with other local officials held an emergency meeting Monday to address the issue.

"Folks, it's time for us to take a stand. Ya'll know it and I know it!" said Clarke County Sheriff Todd Kemp.

While the suspects in Saturday's assault are thought to be four Black males, officials with the city of Quitman say they are not sure about the description of the suspects. They say the cases in the city and county have many similarities, including that in almost all of the incidents, the suspects are described as wearing black clothing and black stockings to cover their faces.

Investigators also say all of the burglaries have happened around the same time, between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Officials say they also believe that they may be connected to possible gang activity.

"We demand to get our city back and make it a safe place to live," said Mayor Tommy Blackburn of Quitman. "We want the whole city of Quitman to come together."

"That's the key. We're going to have to look out for each other," said
Quitman's chief of police, Jimmy Ivy.

With officers from both departments increasing patrols, a $2500 reward is being offered to anyone with information on the cases. The number to call is 934-7600.

An organizing meeting for Neighborhood Watch is set for Nov. 6 at the Quitman Depot. All residents are encouraged to attend.