Columbia Police officers responded to five separate incidents of shots fired over the weekend.
At 8:15 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to shots fired at the intersection of Garth Ave and Oak St. A gunshot victim with non-life threatening injuries was driven to the hospital in a personal vehicle.
About four hours later, officers got reports of shots fired at the intersection of Worley St. and McBaine Ave. According to police, witnesses saw two black men shooting at three men standing at the intersection, and everyone fled on foot when police arrived. Bullets struck a parked car and a house, and more than 20 shell casings were found.
Later on the 4th of July, officers responded to a call of shots fired at 4:24pm on the 5300 block of Currituck Dr. A witness observed a black male wearing a loose-fitting shirt fire several rounds toward a residence, according to Officer Latisha Stroer. Officers located seven shell casings at the scene. There are no known injuries, and the investigation is ongoing.
Later that night, officers responded to a shots fired call on the 100 block of East Forest Avenue near Downtown Optimist Park around 7:16 pm, according to Stroer. There were no initial reports of anyone injured.
Officers were notified at 9:00 pm by a local hospital that a male gunshot victim had been brought to the hospital. The victim had non-life threatening injuries. The only information on potential suspects is that there were two black males, according to Stroer. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.
The violence continued Saturday with multiple shots fired on West Worley Street. Officers responded to a shots fired call around 11:37 pm Saturday night where they found two female victims with gunshot wounds, according to Stroer. The first female victim, 26, was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The second female victim, 17, was grazed by a bullet and didn’t need to be taken to the hospital.
Officers located 29 shell casings at the scene. The suspect is a black male with long dreads driving a vehicle described as a silver Pontiac, according to Stroer.
Columbia Police issued a statement on the shootings Monday afternoon, including this excerpt:
Officers and detectives are working diligently to address this problem and have preliminarily identified some individuals who we believe may be involved, including some with gang affiliations. The investigations into these incidents are ongoing and resources are being allocated to help stop this violence in our community.
Ward 2 Council Member and the co-chair of Mayor McDavid’s Task force on Community Violence, Michael Trapp, says crime was down in 2013 compared to 2012, but isn’t sure about what the trend might be this year.
“It’s kind of early to make those kinds of comparisons, yet. I haven’t seen any 2014 statistics, but it doesn’t seem out of proportion for what we have been experiencing,” Trapp said.
Trapp says the Columbia Police Department has done a better job with geographic policing, but there is still more the unit can do.
“Where the police can be involved in prevention activities and relationship building and more investigation rather than just responding to calls and only being able to investigate the most serious crimes. Increasing our police staff seems like it’s part of the solution,” Trapp said.
Trapp says he expects the task force to have its work complete by November 15th with plans for how the mayor should move forward. Trapp says there is also a public safety issue on the November ballot that would provide funding for the Columbia Police Department.