Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill has mandated the Sportsplex on Lynn Lane close at 10 p.m. daily in the wake of a Sunday morning shooting outside a private event there that injured two people. Any event organizers wanting to host an event at the Sportsplex that runs past that time must first seek city permission. Photo by: Courtesy photo/starkvilleparks.com
January 30, 2018 10:14:24 AM
The city of Starkville is changing how late-parties and other events can be held at the Starkville Sportsplex after an early morning shooting on Sunday injured two people.
Police are still investigating the shooting, which occurred shortly after 12:30 a.m. while a private event was being held at the facility on Lynn Lane. According to Starkville Police Department, shots were fired outside the Sportsplex and injured two people in their lower bodies. The victims' conditions have not been made public, but police reported the injuries were non life-threatening.
Mayor Lynn Spruill said a fraternity was holding a party at the time of the shooting, though she said she didn't know any other details. She said the shooting happened as people were leaving the event.
Police have not reported any arrests from the incident.
On Monday, Spruill said the city is working to address the safety issue. She has already instructed Interim Director of Parks and Recreation Gerry Logan the Sportsplex will no longer host late-night parties.
"We had been debating it anyway," Spruill said. "I had talked to Mr. Logan about not doing late-night parties. We don't do very many of them and it's taxing on the staff. This (Monday) morning, I sent an email to him that we'll no longer be doing late-night parties. We will do parties that end the same time the park closes, which is 10 (p.m.)."
Spruill said there currently aren't any events scheduled that the timing change would impact.
In the meantime, Spruill said the city will draft a policy that reflects the change, and creates a provision that allows people seeking an exception to go before the board of aldermen to request one, possibly as a special event.
Logan could not be reached for comment by press time. The Dispatch has submitted a public records request for event booking information at the Sportsplex.
Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk, whose ward contains the Sportsplex, said the city had likely done all it could from a security standpoint, with SPD officers providing security at the event.
"I don't know what more we could've done at this point," Sistrunk said.
Sistrunk said she believes the city should look into ways to make sure the Sportsplex, or any park, is hosting appropriate events. She said limiting how late parties or events, as Spruill implemented, seemed like a reasonable starting point.
"There are things that are appropriate for the parks and things that are not," Sistrunk said. "One of the things we'll look at in determining appropriateness is the time frame. We're not set up to be that place where things go on in the late hours."
1. Two arrested for capital murder in weekend homicide COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Man found dead with gunshot wound in Southside apartment COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. Suspect in A.J.'s Grocery shooting in custody COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY