MOSS POINT, MISSISSIPPI — Charles and Annetta Ray had just returned home from church when a New Orleans man looking for cash or a ride to a bus station tried to force his way inside their home Sunday, resulting in an exchange of gunfire that ended the man’s life, authorities and witnesses said.
Cornelious Ferrande, 23, died Sunday of a single gunshot wound outside the home in the 3800 block of Wembley Avenue, Jackson County Coroner Vicki Broadus said.
“At this time, I believe it was a possible justifiable homicide,” Moss Point Police detective J.D. Savage said Monday. “We will present the findings to a grand jury for them to make the final determination.”
Moss Point police and other first responders spent several hours Sunday at this home on Wembley Avenue, where a couple was wounded when a man reportedly tried to get inside their home. The unidentified man died and Charles and Rita Ray were injured.
Several witnesses reported seeing Ferrande turned away from several homes before he wrapped a part of his shirt around one of his fingers and rang the front doorbell at the Ray’s home. Then, a witness said, Ferrande ran around the back of the house, and gunfire soon erupted.
Donald and Wanda Hamm are neighbors and longtime friends of the Ray family. They got a firsthand account of what happened from the family.
Charles Ray, they said, answered the back door when Ferrande came around asking him to call a bus for him, When Ray, a retired shipyard worker, refused the request, Donald Hamm said, Ferrande told him to get his wife to call for a ride.
By that time, Hamm said, Annetta Ray already had realized they were in danger and brought her husband’s pistol to him at the back door. She was hidden by a curtain on the back door window, Hamm said, when she snuck the gun to Charles Ray.
By then, Ferrande, with his foot already wedged in the back door, was forcing his way inside the Ray’s home.
“He (Ferrande) had a .22-caliber pistol,” Hamm said. “He shot her in the neck and blew her jaw all to pieces. He sprayed the whole kitchen with bullets.”
Charles Ray was shot, among other places, in the chin, Hamm said, and knocked to the floor. His wife was shot in the face, Hamm said.
Ferrande was about to shoot Charles Ray again, Hamm said, when Ray pulled out his pistol and fired.
“The guy wobbled out the back door and fell under the carport,” Hamm said. “If she (Annetta Ray) hadn’t gone and got that pistol, he’d have killed both of them. I hate that someone got killed, but in this case, the right one died.”
Charles Ray suffered multiple wounds, but was treated at an area hospital Sunday and released. Annetta Ray, a retired school teacher, was airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, where she remained hospitalized Monday.
Sunday’s shooting has left many neighborhood residents shaken and scared.
Not long after the Sunday shooting, police responded to a report of a home burglary, also on Wembley Avenue.
“It’s scary,” said Donald and Wanda Hamm’s daughter-in-law, Susie Hamm, also a Wembley Avenue resident. “I don’t really want to go out in the yard anymore.”