Houston man charged for Sportsplex shooting




Alex Holloway


The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.


A Houston man is facing charges for a January shooting that injured two people at the Starkville Sportsplex. 


Starkville police charged 19-year-old Jalon Javon Gates with two counts of aggravated assault on Tuesday for the Jan. 28 shooting incident. 


The shooting happened shortly after 12:30 a.m. while the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity was hosting an event at the Sportsplex. People were leaving the event when shots rang out, and police reported both victims suffered non life-threatening injuries to their lower bodies. 


Gates' bond was set at a combined $100,000 for both charges. He's currently in the Prentiss County Jail on for two counts of armed robbery and two counts of kidnapping from a Feb. 1 incident at College View Apartments in Booneville, according to jail personnel. Gates was arrested on Feb. 5 for those charges, and his bond in that case has been set at $250,000. 




Shooting aftermath 


The shooting prompted the city to make changes to how late it allows events to last at the Sportsplex and other park venues. 


Mayor Lynn Spruill ordered Interim Parks and Recreation Director Gerry Logan to have all events at the Sportsplex stop at 10 p.m. -- the same time the facility closes. 


On Tuesday, the board of aldermen approved the policy change as part of its consent agenda. 


During the meeting, Demoterius Dorsey, president of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity at Mississippi State University, said the fraternity didn't have anything to do with the shooting. 


He also asked aldermen to give second thought to the new policy. 


"We would like the board to reconsider closing it down at 10 just for the students that are looking for a place in Starkville that can hold more than 1,000 people," he said. "We had people come from Houston, Louisiana, Jackson, Hattiesburg -- I think that meant a lot for the local economy. It meant a lot for us." 


Spruill pointed out the policy allows for citizens to request the board of aldermen allow their event to go beyond 10 p.m. 


"Part of this policy is to allow you guys to come back and make a special request for a particular event," she said. "There's certainly no guarantee that the board will grant it, but the policy does allow an opportunity for an exception, if it's coming before the board for their permission." 


Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins however, told Dorsey that he does not support letting events go later than 10 p.m. 


"This is a public place -- a city facility -- and if it was up to me, I'd close it before 10 p.m.," Perkins said. "We just can't tolerate what reportedly happened down there. 


"We are a city where we strive to protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens, and our chief of police is doing a good job," Perkins continued. "It may be an isolated situation ... but when I was informed of this, I was wondering why in the world is was open to 12 o'clock in the first place."




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