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Mosses P.D. waging war on crime

George Wacha

In response to a shooting incident that occurred last Saturday and sent an innocent victim to the hospital with a near-fatal injury, the Mosses Police Department has begun fighting back.

"We have had a series of shooting incidents caused basically over turf battles," said Mosses Police Chief Shayne Perry. "It is time to give the community back to its residents, freeing them of the fear they have been feeling."

Perry said it all began in late June.

"On June 29, a black-colored Chevrolet Suburban, owned by Gregory Hayes, of John Hulett Road in Mosses, was struck by gunfire at approximately 8:30 p.m., while traveling in Mosses on County Road 2, just east of Main Street," she said. "The vehicle was being driven by a relative of Hayes. Then on June 30, Hayes went to the residence of a relative of Chonaris Grant, looking for him. He and several other presently unknown individuals 'Bogarted' their way into the residence looking for Grant, and Hayes was reportedly armed with a semi-automatic handgun."

Perry said the resident signed a complaint and warrants against Hayes for burglary, second degree, and menacing.

"Further investigation caused us to obtain a warrant charging Grant with attempted murder for firing upon the Suburban belonging to Hayes," she said. "Then on Saturday, July 3, at approximately 7:30 p.m., the continuing conflict involved an innocent bystander. The conflict between Hayes and Grant culminated in a shootout at the residence of Rachel Soles, on Williams Street."

Reports filed and investigation determined that several individuals exchanged gunfire at the Soles residence.

"During the gunfight - and while children were in the area - Roseanne Williams, 21, was struck in the neck with a bullet," Perry said. "Ms. Williams, a bystander, was standing inside the residence when she was struck."

Williams was treated at the scene and transported to Baptist Medical Center-South in Montgomery, where she was initially listed in critical condition, but according to Perry has since been upgraded to stable condition.

"She has been steadily improving, and doctors anticipate being able to remove the bullet from her neck in about a week if she continues to improve," she said.

On Friday, July 9, 18 law enforcement officers and two paramedics from Emergistat (who remained staged a safe distance away) converged on four residences in Mosses, armed with felony arrest and search warrants. This occurred at approximately 4 a.m.

"We simultaneously executed search warrants at 253 Reeves Dr. and 306 Williams Dr.," Perry said. "Chonaris Grant, a 21-year-old black male, was arrested on a warrant charging him with attempted murder for the Hayes vehicle shooting. We also seized an SKS assault rifle - fully-loaded complete with two 'high-capacity' 30-round 'banana clip' magazines, and a Cobra .380 semi-automatic handgun, also fully-loaded and chambered.

"At the Williams Drive location we seized a .22 cal. Springfield model 120 rifle, and three 20-guage shotgun shells. No one was at home, so no arrest was made," Perry said. "We then went to 111 John Hulett Rd., where we arrested Greg Hayes, a 29-year-old black male, on warrants charging burglary, second degree and menacing."

Perry said the execution of a search warrant at that location caused the seizure of a Remington model 870 pump shotgun, loaded with five 12-gauge shotgun shells.

"We also seized the Chevy Suburban," she said.

From there, the law enforcement officers went to a final location, where another arrest was made and a search warrant executed.

"In our final search, we went to 156 Mason Rd., where we arrested Lovell McCall, a 30-year-old black male, on two warrants charging forgery, second degree," Perry said. "The warrants were issued by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department."

Perry said she wished to thank the agencies involved in the efforts.

"I want to thank the Second Judicial Drug Task Force, Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, Marion Police Department, Crenshaw County Sheriff's Department and the Fort Deposit Police Department, for their assistance in bringing these suspects to justice," Perry said. "I also want to thank the paramedics from Emergistat for staying with us in case they were needed - fortunately no one was injured, and no gunfire ensued."

The case remains under investigation, and further arrests may be pending.

Perry, who was hired as police chief on May 27 to replace former Chief Henry Gordon, convicted of felony ethics violations for using his office for personal gain and who still has further charges pending in court involving narcotics offenses, has hired two part-time officers to assist her in returning the Town of Mosses to its 1,100 inhabitants.

"I want to tell the citizens of Mosses, and also the criminal element, that I intend to keep the community safe, using whatever means is necessary," she said. "But we need the support of the community in our efforts, and that includes witnesses speaking to investigators. It is time to give the people of Mosses their town back."

Anyone with information regarding illegal activity in Mosses is asked to call Lowndes County E-911 or the Mosses Police Department at 563-9400. Callers do not need to give their name.