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DeSoto police chief says successful gun surrender event may have saved at least one life

A series of fatal incidents led the police chief and the mayor to plan strategies to curb gun violence in the city.

By Tyler Carter

DeSoto Police Department
An exterior view of the DeSoto Police Department on Belt Line Rd. in DeSoto, Texas, Wednesday, June 24, 2020.(Tom Fox / Staff Photographer)

The DeSoto Police Department considers its recent gun surrender event a success, Police Chief Joe Costa said, and other strategies are planned to address gun violence.

The chief did not elaborate in a prepared statement issued through the city, but in May, he and Mayor Rachel Proctor said they would be looking at initiatives to curb what Proctor called “disturbing” incidents of violent crime in the city.

“The gun surrender was one of the ways that we believe will help with addressing gun violence,” Costa said in the statement. “Due to the fact that we took many guns in on Saturday (July 31), it’s possible that we saved at least one life from some type of gun violence whether it be from suicide or homicide. And we will continue to work together to develop strategies and programs to address gun violence.”

DeSoto spokesman Matt Smith said the city is not planning to announce any other new crime-fighting initiatives or strategies any time soon outside of the gun surrender initiative. The department collected 270 guns, and anyone can still anonymously turn them in at police headquarters.

Costa and Proctor were prompted to act after the arrest of Evan McMaryion, 19, who is accused of killing Randall Thornhill, 34, of Midlothian in DeSoto and wounding Heather French, 29. McMaryion was indicted July 22 on charges of capital murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Also in May, a 16-year-old was taken into custody in connection with a fatal shooting of a teenager in a car that happened in April, when a 22-year-old man was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a man he mistakenly believed to have killed his younger brother, according to DeSoto police.

A viral video also showed someone opening fire on a crowd at Zeiger Park in April.

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