Violence Marrs Church Youth Program

(Southaven, MS) Austin Grills, like lots of Colonial Hills kids, takes advantage of the neighborhood church outreach at the Southaven Performing Arts Center for a little basketball and maybe a hot dog.

But starting last month, Grills says the events started getting violent when teens from outside the neighborhood started hassling him, saying something about missing bikes.

”Next thing I know, I got hit about seven times, and I fell,” he said. “All I remember is when I woke up in the house.”

His father says police never did much about the incident.

”They beat my son and they should have been arrested. It was a simple deal to me,” said David Grills.

Simple to him, but not so simple to Southaven police who say they only got a report of a fight between two teenagers.

That first incident was only the beginning. Problems continued right up until this past weekend.

A week after the first incident, Grills says the outside teens tried to crash a neighborhood barbeque.

Neighbors stopped them and took away baseball bats and a large knife.

Sunday, Austen Grills got beat up again. This time, police made an arrest.

”Obviously we’re limited on our arrest powers. We did do everything that’s necessary. We did arrest for simple assault. Instead of Criminal Court it was referred to Juvenile Court” said Southaven Police Lieutenant Mark Little.

All this comes after a shooting at the same place a few years ago and recent shootings during a party at the Southaven Tennis Center.

”All we have is what’s in these reports. We’re hearing other information. We don’t know, we’ll probably look into it at this point all we have is a fight between two juveniles, said Little.

But that just sounds like an excuse to the Grills family.

”My concern is for my family and my well-being. I’m afraid to leave my house in the morning and go to work”.

What’s being done about it?

Southaven aldermen plan to discuss the rental of city buildings for outside activities at Tuesday night’s board meeting.

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