BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WGNO) – The City of Bay St. Louis is coming together as they mourn the loss of two teenagers who were fatally shot during a party early Sunday morning.

The family and friends of the teens gathered at Washington Street Pier Sunday evening for a balloon release.

Among those in attendance was the grandmother of 18-year-old De’Arreis Smith, Jacqueline Gordon, who says he was airlifted to University Medical Center in New Orleans but succumbed to his injuries.

“When I did get to the hospital, it was a bunch of young people there, so it was a mass shooting,” Gordon said. “He shot six children, and he just opened up on them. They didn’t even know it was coming.”

GoFundMe pages have been set up for De’Arreis, as well as for 16-year-old Haleigh Stamper, who friends say also died in the shooting. Four other teenagers who attended the party were wounded.

Bay St. Louis police arrested 19-year-old Cameron Brand in connection with the homicides.

“They do shootouts a lot to, quote on quote, hype people up by shooting it in the air and just doing stuff, but last night, he knew what he was doing by trying to kill someone,” partygoer Marleigh Workman said.

Friends say the party happened at a house on Old Blue Meadow Road after Bay High School’s prom with many teens in attendance.

“All I can think about is how my boyfriend feels, watching his best friend get killed right in front of his face and trying to save him, but he can’t,” friend Makayla Ward said. Friend Abigail Parker added, “It’s going to be devastating to move on from this, most definitely.”

De’Arreis, also known as DD, was described as a friendly young man with a bright future and who loved to rap.

“DD was a fun-loving person. He loved chilling with the friends, playing basketball,” friend James McCulley said, holding back tears.

Now, family members are demanding their legislators make some changes.

“It’s just so senseless, to me, all these mass shootings,” Gordon said. “I wish they would have better gun control because anybody can get their hands on guns, and it’s mostly the young people.”

Alderwoman Rhonda Aime-Gamble, of Waveland, released the following statement:

As an Alderman in Waveland, I can say that all of Bay St. Louis and Waveland, and Hancock County for that matter, are hurting today because of a senseless tragedy that occurred in Bay St. Louis last night.  We are a very close knit community here, and when something happens to one, it affects us all.  This comes on the heels of losing two police officers, for whom we still grieve.  This type of violence is not common here, and when it does happen it shakes the entire community to its core. 

As a parent and grandparent, I am devastated and scared.  How do you protect your children from senseless violence?  One of my grandsons was at that prom party last night, my smart, athletic, hardworking, handsome wonderful grandson.  All I can do today is thank God that he wasn’t hurt.  This is a parent’s worst nightmare.  We want our children to grow up experiencing life, but always have that fear that something bad will happen.  Well, last night that fear was realized.  Make no mistake about it, all of these children’s lives were changed forever.  They lost a part of their innocence that no one had a right to take away from them. 

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