City officials review safety plan after Springfest shooting; more info learned about victim

Published 2:29 pm Monday, May 23, 2022

Little new information was released by the Batesville Police Department during a special called meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen Monday at City Hall.

In the meeting, elected officials took turns congratulating each person involved in the security planning for Springfest 2022, each saying that the situation would have been much worse had the area not been patrolled by at least 50 law enforcement officers and private security personnel at the time of the shooting.

Emergency Operations Management Director Daniel Cole shared the written copy of an extensive safety plan that was developed by those connected with Springfest, beginning two months before last Saturday’s event.

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In that plan, Cole stressed to the board, decisions were made collectively between the offices of the BPD, the Panola County Sheriff’s Office, Panola Partnership, Lifeguard ambulance service, Panola Medical Center, and his office.

At Monday’s meeting, Chief of Police Kerry Pittman for the first time made public that Saturday’s shooting victim was a juvenile. He was treated on the scene, then taken to the Oxford hospital  before being transported to The Med in Memphis. Pittman said he was in stable condition this morning.

Mayor Hal Ferrell opened the meeting with praise for the response to the shooting. “My thanks go out to the Batesville Police Department, Panola County Sheriff’s Department, Daniel Cole and the Panola County Emergency Operations, and all private security personnel for their preparation and presence before, during, and after Springfest 2022; for their leadership and training; and for their swift, professional action to prevent this tragic shooting from escalating out of control,” Ferrell said.

Police have questioned people of interest and expect to make arrests soon.

Alderman Stan Harrison asked Pittman at Monday’s meeting to release the names of the person, or persons, responsible for the shooting as soon as possible without jeopardizing the ongoing investigation. Pittman said the names will be released as the investigation progresses.

Springfest headliner Jameson Rodgers was performing an encore song when eight shots were fired just south of the Square on Lomax Street about 9:42 p.m.

Dozens of law enforcement officers and private security personnel were within a hundred yards of the shooting location and responded immediately. The victim was able to give police a description of the alleged shooter and others involved

Pittman would not comment on reports that the shooting was the result of a dispute between gang members from a neighboring county, but said  the people involved are not from Panola County.