- Associated Press - Monday, February 8, 2016

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - At least a third of homicide victims in the three Mississippi coastal counties in a recent six-year period died in domestic-related shootings.

Of 156 murders reported from 2009 through 2014, 52 people were shot in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties by a family member or romantic interest. That’s according to a Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/1T8auKN) analysis of homicide trends.

The killings included three triple homicide-suicides, six double murder-suicides, 14 murder-suicides and 29 other shootings.

Last year alone, six murder-suicides were reported, believed to be the highest ever in a single year in the coastal counties.

It’s unclear how many of those slain had filed a domestic-assault complaint before they were killed.

However, the numbers point to concerns nationwide that not all states have laws to restrict access to firearms by domestic abusers.

The Center for American Progress, an independent nonpartisan policy institute, considers a Jackson woman’s killing a prime example for the need for change in Mississippi.

Doris Shavers, 40, was fatally shot by her live-in ex-boyfriend, Henry Lee Phillips, Sept. 17, 2007, as she braided her 12-year-old daughter’s hair. He was a felon — not allowed to have a gun.

The statewide number indicates 16 domestic killings in Jackson, three in Natchez and three each in Madison and Marion counties.

Only seven are listed in the six southernmost counties: Two each in Harrison County and Gulfport and one each in D’Iberville, Pascagoula and Pearl River County.

Most of the 52 domestic-related killings reviewed by the Sun Herald were committed by a spouse or romantic interest. Some were committed by other family members.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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