Protesters want justice for Jaheim McMillan shot dead by MS police

Police fatally shot a teenager after he refused to comply with an officer’s request to lay his gun outside a Family Dollar last week, the Gulfport police chief said in a brief Tuesday press conference.

Jaheim McMillan, 15, was shot by Gulfport police on Thursday and died of a gunshot wound to the head after being taken off life support at a hospital in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday.

McMillan’s family seeks justice in the Gulfport High freshman’s murder. There have been at least two protests outside the Downtown Gulfport Police Department since McMillan’s death, including one on Tuesday immediately after Police Chief Adam Cooper’s press conference.

“The officer ordered him to stop and drop his weapon. McMillan did not comply,” Cooper said. “McMillan turned his body and his gun towards the officer. The officer fired at McMillan.

Cooper also pushed back on stories circulating on social media, but did not elaborate further on what was being said.

“There are a lot of stories on social media about what happened,” he said. “A lot of them are just plain wrong.”

Cooper declined to answer questions from Sun Herald reporters after the press conference.

A car covered in messages supporting Jaheim McMillan, who was shot dead by police, during a protest outside the Gulfport Police Station in Gulfport on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022. Hannah Ruhoff [email protected]

Mother-of-teen has questions for Gulfport police

McMillans’ mother, Katrina Mateen, was one of twelve people protesting outside the police department on Tuesday and said she believed police were trying to intimidate her by driving past her house at night and flashing the lights of their patrol cars.

“The Gulfport police know who I am and always have,” she told the Sun Herald. “I just want to know why. Why did they have to shoot my son?

jaheem mcmillan.jpeg
Jaheem McMillan, 15 Courtesy of the McMillan family

Mateen said she did not speak to any officers who passed by her house.

Mateen keeps the community informed on her Facebook page, where she also mourns the death of her child.

“I need my son…come back Jaheim I can’t live without you,” she posted, alongside a TikTok video of photos of McMillan as a toddler and child.

Protesters held chants that said “Justice For Jaheim” and “No Justice No Peace”. A black SUV was decorated with #JusticeForJaheim and the phrase “Hands up don’t work”.

Angela McMillan was emotional as she held up a sign that read ‘WHY’ in large letters.

Mateen held up small posters with her son’s picture on them. She is one of several people on Facebook to request the release of police body camera footage of the shooting.

Katrina McMillan holds signs demanding justice for her son Jaheim McMillan, a 15-year-old Gulfport High student who was shot dead by police outside a Family Dollar Store, during a protest outside the Gulfport Police Station in Gulfport on Tuesday October 11, 2022 Hannah Ruhoff [email protected]

Angela McMillan holds a sign in support of her nephew, Jaheim McMillan, a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed by police last week, during a protest outside the Gulfport Police Station in Gulfport on Tuesday, October 11 2022. Hannah Ruhof [email protected]

What the Archives Say About the Police Shooting of a Gulfport Teenager

McMillan was one of three teenagers wearing camouflage masks and threatening another motorist with guns last week, according to affidavits filed in the case.

McMillan was in a silver Kia Soul with four other teenagers who began following another driver on the Mississippi 605 around 2:30 p.m. on October 6.

The driver told police he first noticed the Soul driving recklessly near Interstate 10 in Gulfport. The driver said some of the car’s occupants started “spinning” them near Seaway Road and continued to follow the driver.

Gulfport Police Chief Adam Cooper speaks during a news conference at the Gulfport Police Station in Gulfport on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, regarding the police shooting of Jaheim McMillan, a student from 15 years from Gulfport High. Hannah Ruhof [email protected]

The two vehicles later pulled up next to each other on Mississippi 605 at Brentwood Boulevard, where the driver reported seeing a teenager, believed to be McMillan, in the right rear passenger seat waving a gun fire.

Records show the two vehicles took off when the light turned green, but the driver who called police said the silver Kia with McMillan and the other miners inside continued to follow the car.

Before the driver pulled away from the Kia, he told police he saw the Kia Soul’s right rear passenger brandishing a gun again, this time while wearing a camouflage mask, according to the archives.

Police crime scene tape and markers seen near a Kia Soul parked at Family Dollar on Pass Road in Gulfport after an officer fired Oct. 6, 2022. Hannah Ruhoff [email protected]

The driver escaped from the car near Courthouse Road, records show.

Guflport Police found the Kia Soul in the Family Dollar parking lot on Pass Road, where police then shot McMillan.

Gulfport police arrested the other four minors.

In interviews with officers, records indicate the teens admitted to following the other car and identified the three who were wearing masks and brandishing firearms. The teens confirmed that McMillan was one of three wearing masks and waving a gun.

Police recovered a mask and various firearms from the car.

An investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

Protesters hold signs in support of justice for Jaheim McMillan, who was shot by police, during a protest outside the Gulfport Police Station in Gulfport on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022. Hannah Ruhoff [email protected]

This story was originally published October 11, 2022 5:42 p.m.

Margaret Baker is an investigative journalist whose search for the truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first federal hate crime prosecution for the murder of a transgender person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a great story, she is relentless.

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