Suspect in custody in Ala.; 4-year-old sufferer in secure situation following Tuesday capturing

JONES COUNTY, Ms. (WDAM) – New information involving a shooting that injured a little girl in Jones County is revealed.

The shooting happened on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at the Lone Oaks Apartments, where investigators said two young men started fighting, and then the mother of one of them fired a shot.

Sheriff Joe Berlin said the bullet hit a handrail, and some of the bullet fragments hit the child in the stomach.

The four-year-old is in stable condition following surgery at a children’s hospital in Jackson.

“She’s a fighter,” Penny Ducksworth said of her four-year-old granddaughter, Serenity. “She’s still smiling and a little talking, but she’s in a lot of pain. They have to go back in to find the bullet that’s lodged in her intestines.”

Even amid horrible conditions, family members said Serenity stayed positive through it all.

“She’s still smiling,” Ducksworth said. “She never stopped smiling; she never stopped talking.”

The family also asked for continued support while their journey to recovery continues.

“We’re going to take it step-by-step,” Ducksworth said. “We’re still looking for justice. We’re going to get justice. And we’re just focusing right now on her and her well-being.”

Meanwhile, the woman accused of shooting Serenity, 37-year-old Loretta Denise Elkins of Laurel, was taken into custody in Livingston, Ala., Tuesday afternoon, following a multi-agency search that crossed state lines.

“It was a joint effort by everybody,” said Jones Co. Sheriff Joe Berlin. “Everybody came together, especially with it being a four-year-old child that was shot. Everybody wants somebody to go to jail over that.”

Elkins is expected to appear in court in Alabama and waive extradition, meaning she’ll be brought back to Jones County. She is tentatively scheduled to appear in the Jones County Justice Court on Friday, Sept. 23, at 1 pm

Berlin said, moving forward, the JCSD will be cracking down on the misuse of guns.

“It’s an unfortunate time, you know, when a four-year-old gets shot by an adult,” Berlin said. “Was it an accident, or was it intentional? Yeah, it was intentional because she pointed a gun in the direction of somebody and fired, not knowing who was there. It’s sad that it was a four-year-old. The carelessness of handling a firearm is not accepted.”

The Jones County Sheriff’s Department said Elkins would face a charge of aggravated assault.

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