Coahoma County Grandmother heartbroken over granddaughter’s killing

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 6:09 PM CST

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Melrose Haile was in tears Monday morning, after returning to the site where her granddaughter was killed in the early hours of the morning.

According to Haile, her granddaughter Averi Jones was only a year old.

“She just started to get into words,” Haile said. “She didn’t get a chance to live her life.”

Around 2:00 a.m., deputies with the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a child shot in Jonestown, just 15 minutes north of Clarksdale.

Arriving at the Summit Garden Apartments on Coldwater River Road, deputies found 25-year-old Marquez Griffin holding a child at gunpoint.

The name and age of the child are unconfirmed, but nearby deputies tell us two more children, one of them Averi Jones, suffering from gunshot wounds.

Deputies were able to convince Griffin to lay down his weapon and release the third child, and he was taken into custody shortly after.

The nine-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene, and Jones was rushed to the ER in Clarksdale.

She did not survive the trip.

Haile recalls when she first learned of what happened.

“I got a call about 4:30 this morning, saying ‘Get to the hospital’,” she said.

When she came to the Summit Gardens after being at the hospital, Haile said law enforcement warned her about the situation, saying “it was a sight (she) didn’t want to see.”

“All I know is my grandbaby is gone,” she said. “I want justice for her.”

Griffin has been charged with two counts of murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

Right now, it’s unclear what led up to the shooting.

Haile said she doesn’t know Griffin personally but knows his family, making the situation more shocking for her.

“I go to church with his aunt and his cousin, and they’re sweet people,” Haile said. “Why are you going into those children’s rooms when they were asleep and take their life? Them kids didn’t do nothing to you. Them kids don’t even know you. Why would you do this?”

As we await more information from Coahoma County, people like Haile are wanting more protection in Jonestown.

Jonestown is a small town with only two officers who don’t work a 24/7 shift.

The hope is this situation will change that.

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