JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The shooting at the Nova Park apartments on Sunday that left 23-year-old Jerrod Fears dead and another man injured, is just the latest in a slew of problems for those who live there.
"It's bad," says Dana Ward, a resident for about three years.
It's a single-building complex with about 24 apartments. More than ten are vacant and unlivable. But people do live among the mold and disrepair, the shattered glass, piles of beer cans and trash. Men, women, toddlers, and infants.
"If I had somewhere else to go, I would be there," says Robert Epps, as he holds his 1 1/2 year old nephew.
Myrtis Louise Daniel had a stroke three years ago. She climbs the stairs to her apartment slowly and with help since there's no handicapped access. A hole in her window is taped up. "Someone could stick their head in there, come in the house if they wanted to," she says.
Erica Johnson and her family live in an apartment where the heat won't turn off and the water won't stop running. Even with a two-month-old baby, it's unclear if she's desperate to get out.
We asked her why she can't leave. "I don't have anywhere to go. I have to have time to get everything right for me, my baby," she says. We asked if it's a money issue. "Not really," she says.
The residents blame the landlord, Alice Lewis, for failing to fix anything.
"She got her hand out for money, but she never want to fix anything," says Epps. Residents tell us rent runs between $300 and $400 every month.
We called Lewis. She tells us the people who complain don't pay their rent. She hung up before we could tell her about the second-story posts along the walkways that hang loose, or the exposed meter boxes that could electrocute a child in a second. After we alerted Entergy, they went out and closed them off.
Ward has hung light-up icicles on the railings outside his apartment, but it's not just for Christmas spirit. T
The exterior lights around the apartment complex haven't worked, residents tell us, since October 2008.
"Without the lights, anything goes on, everything goes on," he says. "We're just trying to go to work, do things we need to do to get to the next step, to get out of here," Ward says.
As to why residents remain there, "Some of us started new jobs, trying to get out. It's hard. Landlords, HUD," Ward says.
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