An early Sunday morning shooting at a house party on the Mississippi Gulf Coast left two adolescents dead and four others injured. Police have charged a 19-year-old guy in connection with the incident. According to jail documents, Pass Christian resident Cameron Everest Brand is accused of murder and severe assault. According to witness and victim accounts, Bay St. Louis Police Chief Toby Schwartz stated that Brand was the only shooter in the incident.
According to Schwartz, two teenagers, ages 16 and 18, passed away in a hospital in New Orleans. When contacted by phone to confirm their identities, the Orleans Parish coroner did not answer. They were De’Arris “DD” Smith, 18, and Haeleigh Stamper, 16, Hancock High School classmates, according to friends and relatives.
Smith, who Kecia Sams regarded as an adopted member of her family, was a senior getting ready to graduate. “De’Arreis Smith was an amazing soul, a loyal friend, brother, and uncle,” Sams told Nola.com. He was well-liked by many people, and his family will miss him terribly.
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There is a GoFundMe campaign put up to assist with Stamper’s funeral costs. In the posting, the event’s coordinator, Lillie Smith, called the teen a “sweet soul.” Smith stated, “Her gorgeous smile would light up the whole room.” According to Schwartz, Brand was brought to jail after being apprehended at his Pass Christian, close, house.
The brand was detained in the Hancock County jail after Bay St. Louis Municipal Court Judge Stephen Maggio rejected his request for bail. Whether Brand has a lawyer who could represent him in court is unknown. After Bay High School’s prom, students had gathered for a party at the house on a rural road.
The home’s driveway was covered in blood tracks on Sunday, according to local news sources, and other automobiles nearby had bullet wounds. Less than a mile separates the house from Bay High. According to the police, the six shooting victims were between the ages of 15 and 18. All were transported, some by helicopter, to nearby hospitals.
Pass Christian High School student, Casey Woods, 18, revealed to the Sun Herald of Biloxi that he attended the party with a girlfriend. He claimed to have witnessed Brand speaking to individuals before leaving and returning just before the gunfire began. According to Woods, “Me and my girl looked up and saw sparks coming from the gun,” and “Many people ran into the woods.”
Hancock High School in Kiln, which is close by, was attended by both of the deceased teenagers, according to district officials. Two more Hancock High students and two Bay High students were shot and injured. In Hancock County, which is located between New Orleans and Gulfport on the western end of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, those are the only two public high schools.
The Hancock County school district released a statement saying, “Our hearts are broken as we mourn the tragic loss of two Hancock High School students who were victims of the shooting in Bay St. Louis last night,” and that counselors would be available Monday at school. “Let’s unite as a community to express our love and support during this trying time.”
Both of the injured Bay High students are anticipated to make a full recovery, according to Sandra Reed, superintendent of the Bay St. Louis-Waveland school district. Amy Necaise, the principal of Bay High, announced that instructors and staff would be available to students on campus Sunday afternoon for counseling.