MPD Faced with Lack of Witness Cooperation

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Meridian, Mississippi A recent shooting at a local apartment complex has brought to light the issue of authorities not always receiving the proper assistance from witnesses when crimes take place.

Charges may have been filed in a recent shooting at Western Gardens Apartments in Meridian, but it wasn't exactly easy for investigators to arrest those connected to the shooting. Meridian police tell us there were several witnesses who refused to come forward.

"They just stand there and let this occur," Captain Dean Harper says. "So, it's really hard to work an investigation when people will not come forward and speak to the police."

Harper says officers were eventually able to arrest seven individuals and charge each of them with one count of aggravated assault and three counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling. Harper tells Newscenter 11 it's unfortunate when no one will assist police with their investigation and instead, allow crimes to continue being committed.

"In years past when something like this would happen there would be witnesses lining up to speak to the police to tell us what happened because they realize that next time instead of shooting in that direction, they could be shooting in their direction," Harper explains. "They could be hit. Their children could be hit!"

Authorities do admit they realize some people are afraid to come forward out of fear of revenge or retaliation. However, investigators say there is a way to help while protecting your identity.

"The suspect finds out that they snitched them out or whatever and they're worried that their place is going to get shot into," Harper points out. "We understand that. Again, that's what Crimestoppers is set up for."

Meridian Police encourage anyone with crime fighting information to call Crimestoppers at 601-485-1860.