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Second man arrested in shooting death of Mississippi pastor

January 15, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A second man has been charged with killing a Mississippi pastor who was unlocking his small church Sunday morning.

Jackson Police spokesman Sgt. Roderick Holmes said police arrested 23-year-old Bernard Randall late Monday and charged him with capital murder. Randall is also charged with armed robbery and aggravated assault in a convenience store robbery last week. Police say he robbed a man in a parking lot and then shot the victim in the arm as he fled.

Police on Sunday arrested 22-year-old Marquez Hamilton and charged him with capital murder, armed robbery, auto theft and conspiracy. Hamilton remained jailed Tuesday. Police Chief James Davis told reporters Monday that Hamilton confessed to the killing.

It’s unclear if either man has a lawyer.

The two are accused of confronting 62-year-old Anthony Longino early Sunday morning outside New Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, shooting him, and stealing his pickup truck. The truck was later found abandoned.

“They didn’t have to do with they did, they could’ve just got what they wanted and went about their business” Stanley Longino told WLBT-TV of his brother’s death. “They didn’t have to take his life.”

Larry Longino told WLBT-TV that his brother talked about moving the church to another location because the congregation wasn’t growing. He said he never talked about being afraid for his safety. He said he forgives his brother’s killers.

“Pretty much, this is the way the world is today: Crime and violence,” Larry Longino said.

The shooting sparked new debate over crime in Mississippi’s largest city, which saw homicides rise 30 percent in 2018 to a total of 84. Longino’s death was the sixth homicide in 2019.

Mississippi’s Republican governor, Phil Bryant, said Monday on Twitter that he will join Jackson leaders “to stop this violence together or I will do so as Governor on my own.” It’s unclear whether Bryant has specific actions in mind. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said Monday that the governor is supporting a $4 million request for state money for the city to build a facility to monitor crime in real time using cameras and other devices.

In response to Associated Press questions, Bryant spokesman Knox Graham wrote in an email that Bryant “would support legislation that increases funding for the single purpose of reducing violent crime and saving lives in the capital city.”

Lumumba, a Democrat, also called on state leaders to consider gun control measures, but that’s unlikely. There’s often a wide fissure between the policy preferences of the city’s overwhelmingly Democratic voters and the strongly Republican voters in much of the rest of the state.

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