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Shooting victims identified; police believe ‘set-up’ led to fatal shooting

703 North Jackson St

703 North Jackson St.

According to Police Chief Bobby Bell, Brookhaven’s second consecutive fatal Christmas Eve shooting appears to have been a set-up.

Julian Gayten, 22, of 703 North Jackson St., was pronounced dead at his residence at 7:18 a.m. by Lincoln County Coroner Clay McMorris. A covered body was removed from the house at about 9 a.m. where a crowd of neighbors and family members of the victim had gathered.

Bell said Gayten was found not far away from where 17-year-old Jaquarius Jones was found before being transported to King’s Daughters Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at about 7:30 a.m. by Deputy Coroner Robert Tyler.

Bell said the initial call came in at 7:01 Thursday morning when Jones ran into the road on Flora Street and collapsed.

After investigating, police arrested and charged 17-year-old Marionne Keys with conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy after the fact to commit murder.

Bell said it appears that Keys was text messaging Gayten, and ended up at his residence at 703 North Jackson St. Keys had also been talking with Jones, with whom she was discussing robbing Gayten, Bell said. Bell said Jones went over to the North Jackson residence and gunfire erupted. Bell said Gayten and Jones ended up killing each other, but didn’t specify who might have shot first.

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Bell said it seems that the robbery was part of a set-up, and that Keys essentially pitted them against each other. She is in Lincoln County Jail. She did not have a bond amount listed in jail records. McMorris said both victims were taken to the Mississippi Crime Lab for autopsies.

Ray Gayten, a relative on the scene Thursday morning, expressed disappointment in the violence in Brookhaven.

“We need to get these guns away from these young people,” Gayten said. “Instead of investigating drugs they need to be investigating these murders. Whatever it is if they don’t have the equipment — get it. We’re sick of this in Brookhaven.”

If the deaths are classifieds as murders, they would be the ninth and 10th in the city this year. Lincoln County has recorded one murder this year. See this map for details on the year’s murders.

The city saw a murder on Christmas Eve in 2014.

In the BPD call for service record Wednesday, a shooting was also reported on East Independence Street at 4:57 p.m. and a report was written. Police did not respond to information requests made at that time. It is unknown if the two incidents are related.