Family holds balloon release vigil for lawn care worker gunned down in Gulfport
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A family is mourning the loss of one of their own, and a community is still searching for answers after what authorities call a senseless shooting when a Saucier man was gunned down while mowing a lawn.
“Yesterday when I heard it, it was just so shocking and heartbreaking - Kelvin was my heart,” the victim’s fiancé Deshanta Tate said.
“We are not going to see his smile anymore,” his brother, Colin Simmons, said. “We are not going to feel him around us anymore. It’s like a part of my heart is gone.”
Kelvin Simmons Jr. was hired to mow a lawn on Audubon Drive in Gulfport on Monday. Before the 47-year-old could finish the job, he was brutally gunned down. Gulfport police said they found him dead in that yard with a running, gas-powered leaf blower still on his back.
The tragedy itself is enough to destroy a family already reeling with so much recent loss.
“It was just senseless,” Tate said. “He did not deserve this. He was already going through so many problems and issues. He lost his mom about 10 years ago. Then two years ago, he lost his brother. Then he lost his dad, now him. The family can’t take no more.”
“He just wasn’t a brother, he was a father,” Simmons said.
Two children are now left without a father. Those children joined the rest of their family to release balloons in a Tuesday night vigil. The coroner tells us Kelvin had recently gotten a kidney transplant and was just getting back on his feet. His family describes him as a loving man, an avid outdoorsman and a prankster.
So why would someone so violently take his life?
“He never did mention any kind of beef, anything,” Tate said. “It’s just senseless. Nobody has answers to this at all. We are all wondering, we are clueless. We need answers, we need closure, we want justice. This perpetrator, he needs to be found. Whoever he is. Please, if you have a heart, which I doubt you do, just turn yourself in.”
“I don’t know why he did it,” Simmons said. “I really don’t know because he doesn’t bother anybody. It was a lot of emotions -- hate, everything was going through our minds -- but God’s got us. He can handle it better than we can. We are going to leave it in His hands.”
Gulfport police say detectives were canvassing the neighborhood Tuesday looking for any clues to help give the family some closure. If you know any information that could help out, please call Gulfport police at 228-868-5959 or Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898.
Simmons’ funeral services will be held September 10, 2022, at the Isiah Fredericks Community Center. Viewing will be at 10 a.m., and a service will follow at 11 a.m.
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