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By RUSSELL TURNER
A Greene County teenager was hospitalized and a 73-year-old man jailed over the weekend after a shooting at a gathering of teenagers.
Tristin Walley, 19, of Sand Hill, was transported to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg after being shot in the abdomen around midnight Saturday at a party at 19 Thurmond Drive south of Leakesville. According to reports, Walley was one of dozens of people at the location just off Fork Road, which officials say is currently vacant. Witnesses allege that Travis Wetzell Davis, 73, shot Walley when the teenager attempted to open the man’s door to check on him.
Sheriff’s office investigator Tommy Henderson said a juvenile and 19-year-old, both males, told him the trio was preparing to leave the party when they noticed Davis sitting in his truck next to where Walley’s vehicle was parked. Henderson said the young men told him they thought something might have been wrong with Davis so they knocked on the window. They said Davis did not look at them, but did unlock the vehicle door.
“Both witnesses told me that Walley barely cracked open the door of the truck when a pistol barrel came out and a shot was fired,” Henderson said. “They said there had been no confrontation of any kind between them and Davis prior to the gun being fired.”
Walley was shot just below and left of the sternum with a .9-mm handgun. The bullet exited out his back and went through a window in his truck. Deputies later found the bullet in Walley’s vehicle where it had come to rest.
Davis was not at the scene when an ambulance and police arrived. Witnesses told Henderson he had left immediately after the shot was fired.
Davis was arrested early Sunday morning at his residence at 1699 Browntown Road without incident. He is being charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and as of Tuesday afternoon remained in the Greene County Jail under a $50,000 bond. Sheriff Stanley McLeod said the case, which is still under investigation, will be turned over to the next Grand Jury for consideration.
Henderson said he has multiple witnesses remaining to interview, including the victim, who remained hospitalized in Hattiesburg as of Tuesday morning and had not yet been able to be questioned about the incident.
Witnesses told Henderson the party involved a large group of friends that gather together at different locations regularly and that Davis, despite the difference in age, has been at several of those gatherings. Witnesses also alleged that Davis had been drinking heavily on the night of the shooting and had to be helped to his vehicle after becoming intoxicated.
Sheriff McLeod said the initial investigation into the matter indicates several dozen people were at the party, with the majority being juveniles and young adults 19-21 years old. McLeod said alcohol and drugs were found at the scene.
McLeod said additional charges could be forthcoming related to the weekend incident. He added anyone who provides alcohol or drugs to minors can consider themselves as being put on notice.
“These parties with alcohol and underage drinking are no good and we are going to start cracking down on them when we know of them,” McLeod said. “None of these kids were expecting something like this to happen, but nothing good comes out of these situations.”
“These are just disasters waiting to happen and I can tell you that if we find a situation where adults, even young adults, are hanging out with kids and providing alcohol to minors, we will make arrests and prosecute those individuals.”