Days after Black delivery van driver Demonterrio Gibson was chased and shot at while dropping off a package in Brookhaven, MS, two white men, Gregory Case, 58 and his son Brandon, 35 were arrested and released on bond on charges of conspiracy and shooting into a motor vehicle.
Gibson, 24, told The Associated Press that he was in uniform on January 24th delivering a package shortly after 7 p.m. when the incident happened. He was in an unmarked van when he noticed a white pickup truck pulling away from another house on the same large lot. The pickup driver tried to cut him off as he exited the driveway. Gibson says he moved around the truck but encountered a second man.
“I drive down about two or three houses and there’s another guy standing in the middle of the street with a gun pointed at my vehicle,” Gibson said in his statement. The man motioned for him to stop. “I’m looking at him, like shaking my head, because why would I stop for somebody with a gun? I start hitting the gas trying to get out of the neighborhood because I don’t know what his intentions are.”
Gibson said the man fired as he drove away, damaging the van and packages inside. As he fled, one of his FedEx managers called him, and when Gibson told her what had happened, she ordered him to return to the station. As he drove, Gibson noticed the pickup truck was following him. He said the white pickup chased him to the interstate highway near Brookhaven before ending the chase.
The Lincoln County NAACP scheduled a Saturday press conference to address the incident but chapter president, Rev. Dr. Rico Cain, says they made the decision to cancel at the last minute because of what he says was an “overbearing police presence.”
“There were law enforcement officers behind buildings and around corners,” he said. “We had people canvas the grounds doing different counts in different areas for law enforcement, and the police officers you saw were not the only ones.”
Gibson’s attorney, Carlos Moore, compared the incident to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot running through a Georgia subdivision in 2020. Three white strangers chased him down. Those men were also a father and son duo. The two were convicted of murder and sentenced to life.
“It’s just sad that it happens. It seems to be a copycat duo copying off the Ahmaud Arbery case,” he said. “They saw this man was a Black man, and they just hauled off and shot at him multiple times, at least the younger son did. The older guy tried to entrap him. They were working concertedly to try to entrap and kill this man. I mean, they shot at him several times. It’s amazing that he survived.”
Moore says he wants the men charged with a hate crime.
“I want both of them charged with attempted murder,” Moore said. “They had no justification under the law to do what they did. This man had done nothing wrong, and we believe it was racially motivated.”
Cain says the victim’s family and the Brookhaven NAACP are asking for the resignations of Police Chief Kenneth Collins, Mayor Joe Cox, Lead Investigator Clint Earls, Investigator Vincent Fernando, and Assistant Chief Chris Case for what he says is their refusal to address incidents of racism that have happened in the city.
Collins pushed back against those claims. He maintains Brookhaven is not a racist city. He says his department has opened an investigation with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations to see if federal charges are warranted.
“We’re not going to have outsiders coming in trying to stir that up,” he said. “Brookhaven is not a racist, prejudiced town. You can’t judge a town by the actions of two individuals.”
District Attorney Dee Bates said his office is aware of Gibson’s case and that once the police investigation concludes, the case will be presented before a municipal court. Then, it will go before the district attorney and a grand jury to seek an indictment.