By Steve Rogers and Brian Jones
A man already facing one murder charge is in custody in connection with a new shooting, and, for the second time this week, Columbus has cracked down on a recalcitrant business.
When officers responded to O-Kay Foods, located at 1801 Seventh Avenue North, about 2:15 Tuesday afternoon, they found two men had been shot inside the store. Police say a 32-year-old was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle in a private vehicle and was listed in stable condition Wednesday.
The other victim, a 25-year-old who suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body, including one to the neck, was taken to BMH-GT by ambulance and later airlifted to University Medical Center in Jackson. He was listed in stable condition Wednesday, police said.
As he was wheeled from the store on an ambulance gurney, he was yelling profanities and threatening to “kill, kill, kill” the shooter. He’s “gonna die tomorrow,” the man yelled.
Neither victim was an employee of the store. A handgun was recovered at the scene, but it is unclear whether it was the one used in the shooting or belonged to one of the victims.
Police also still are investigating the circumstances that prompted the shooting.
Person of interest Leronn Klayshay Gregory, 25, was taken into custody late Wednesday and is being held on charges of aggravated assault, according to CPD Capt. Brent Swan. No bond had been set as of press time.
Gregory was out of jail on bond on murder charges stemming from the Jan. 3, 2016 shooting death of 25-year-old Brandon Michael Gordon along Florence Street in East Columbus. Gordon was found in the backyard of 142 Beech St., and was pronounced dead on arrival after being taken to BMH-GT.
His original bond was set at $1 million by Municipal Court Judge Gary Goodwin. Gregory was indicted for murder by the Lowndes County Grand Jury in August and arraigned on Sept. 2. As part of the arraignment and scheduling, Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard signed an order setting a new bond at $100,000. He posted that bond that same day and was released from the Lowndes County Jail.
Prior to last year, Gregory was no stranger to law enforcement with an arrest record dating back to 2011 for charges as diverse as burglary and malicious mischief to aggravated assault. The burglary and aggravated assault charges were from 2013; however court records indicate he was never indicted by a grand jury on those charges.
The day after the shooting, city officials met with store owner Mutee “Sam” Nagi in an attempt to come to an agreement that would reduce crime at the high-traffic location. After wrangling with the city throughout the day Wednesday, Nagi signed on to an agreement drafted by City Attorney Jeff Turnage that would limit the business’ hours to 4:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and require it to have video surveillance cameras inside and outside and to share video from those cameras with police when requested. Had he not agreed, the council was poised to meet Thursday morning to consider stronger measures.
[For more, see Rants, Raves and Circumstance in this week’s edition. – Ed.]
Earlier this week, the threat of harsh action by the city forced The Princess to agree to revamped operating terms to avoid closure. That action, approved Tuesday night by the City Council, was prompted by a weekend shooting outside the downtown nightclub. That was the latest in a string of incidents involving the business.