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Mayor calls on community to support family

Muskogee Phoenix - 2/11/2021

Feb. 11—Mayor Marlon Coleman marveled on Wednesday about "the outpouring of love and support" from the community in response to a shooting that claimed six lives a week ago.

Coleman described the events that took place during the early hours of Feb. 2 as "the worst tragedy Muskogee has ever seen." He said it will take time to heal, and the community must remain "committed as a community that cares" with the passage of time.

"As a community, the outpouring of love and support will have to go far beyond a balloon release, a prayer vigil or the actual funeral services," Coleman said, citing the ongoing needs of a seventh victim who survived her injuries. "We need to be committed to maintaining our community of care position, which we have done so many times before."

Coleman said Brittany Anderson, the 27-year-old mother who survived life-threatening injuries while five of her children died as a result of similar injuries, will require "psychological and spiritual counseling for the long haul." He said it will be important for the community "to be available and be certain that we have at our disposal what will be needed" to promote healing.

"We also must send a clear message to other young families, that Muskogee will be a place where they can live, work and play, but not a place where a person can get away with murder," Coleman said. "We hope the district attorney and others will take full advantage of the arsenals available to them in accordance with the laws of Oklahoma."

Coleman said he plans to sign a proclamation during the coming days that will declare March as Community Care for First Responders Month. He said it is equally important to provide the necessary resources for first responders who spent hours fulfilling "their duties at such a heinous crime scene."

"I think more than half of them are still attending some type of therapy or counseling," Coleman said, citing the trauma of dealing with the loss of five young children to violence. "So, during the month of March we want to be available as a community to help them recover, as well."

Jarron Deajon Pridgeon, 25, faces six counts of first-degree murder and two related felonies. He stands accused of killing Javarian Lee, 24, Que'dynce Anderson, 9, Nevaeh Pridgeon, 6, Harmony Anderson, 5, Jaidus Pridgeon, 3, and Jalaiya Pridgeon, 2.

He is scheduled to appear Feb. 18 for a preliminary hearing of the state's evidence.


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