- A Navy base in Mississippi erected a wall of shipping containers to protect itself from stray bullets.
- Stray bullets have struck multiple homes on the base and are coming from a nearby apartment complex.
- A spokesperson for the base said the barrier is meant as a “temporary solution.”
The base first placed more than 20 shipping containers around its perimeter last year after gunfire broke out in the apartment complex across the street, striking multiple homes on the base, a local television station reported.
Captain Jeff Powell told the outlet that the base “took prudent measures” to ensure the safest and most secure environment possible for residents inside the base.
Since then, shootings have continued to plague Gulfport.
On Thursday, two people were shot at a birthday party near the military base. While responding, police officers said they heard more gunshots and found a third person killed in a different location, according to local media. Two other separate shootings also occurred in Gulfport on Thursday.
Martha Lockhart-Mais, a retired schoolteacher who lives near the military base, told NBC News that one of her former students was shot and killed last year.
Lockhart-Mais said she thought the gunshots in the neighborhood had been less frequent before Thursday’s shootings, and that she didn’t approve of the shipping containers walling off the military base.
“I feel that people should be able to live and work together without having a barrier,” Lockhart-Mais said.
John Whitfield, a local pastor and CEO of Climb CDC, a workforce development nonprofit, told NBC News that he thinks the optics of the barrier are “very bad.” But he said he understands the “practicality of it.”
Becky Shaw, a spokesperson for the base, told NBC News that the barrier is meant as a “temporary solution,” but that the Navy is considering building a concrete wall across the street from the apartment complex.
“The force protection of our base, personnel, and families is our highest priority,” Shaw said.