Sunday, May 07, 2023
Gunfire erupted during a Cinco de Mayo party at a restaurant in Ocean Springs, resulting in seven people being shot and one fatality, according to Police Chief Mark Dunston.
The deceased individual, identified as 19-year-old Chase Harmon from Pascagoula, was confirmed by Jackson County Deputy Coroner James Prisock.
Ocean Springs Police Captain Ryan LeMaire stated that two of the six injured individuals remained hospitalized, with one in stable but guarded condition in the intensive care unit at Ocean Springs Hospital and the other in stable condition under observation at a hospital in New Orleans.
The restaurant, known as The Scratch Kitchen on Government Street, was cordoned off with crime scene tape as authorities surveyed the area and gathered evidence. Mayor Kenny Holloway also visited the scene. The back patio area, where the shooting took place, remained sealed off by yellow crime scene tape, and the establishment was set to remain closed as an active crime scene. The police department disclosed that there are currently no suspects in custody, but investigations have been ongoing since the incident. Anyone with information related to the shooting was urged to contact the Ocean Springs Police Department.
One witness, Abranee Goldsmith, shared her account of the tragic event. She described attempting to administer CPR to the victim after he fell to the ground. Goldsmith recounted hearing gunshots, taking cover under a table, and then noticing the victim struggling to breathe. She promptly applied a makeshift bandage and performed CPR before seeking assistance from the police. Goldsmith chose to remain at the scene even after the victim ceased breathing, expressing her determination to have done everything possible to help. She emphasized that such incidents were uncommon in Ocean Springs.
Restaurant owner Brittany Alexander provided further details, stating that the suspect is believed to have climbed a nearby wall. Alexander confirmed that the deceased individual was a customer, while the shooter was not. The restaurant's patio area, where the DJ performs, is restricted to individuals aged 21 and over. Security personnel conduct frisks on all entrants, and patrons are given wristbands indicating the legal drinking age after paying the cover charge. Approximately 200 people were present at the Cinco de Mayo party when the shooting occurred.
The incident sparked discussion on social media platforms, with the Ocean Springs community expressing shock and concern. This shooting follows a previous shooting incident in the restaurant's parking lot, where a 22-year-old man was accidentally shot in the leg. Other recent shootings have also taken place in different nightlife venues in Ocean Springs, including a fatal shooting outside Kahuna-OS bar and a shooting outside Ocean Springs Daiquiri Company.