WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Officers have investigated 10 shootings in the City of Wilmington in just the past two weeks. Now Wilmington Police are taking their case to the public.
Police say most of these shootings are targeted, and the general public is likely not in danger. However, the assistant chief is making a plea to try and prevent anyone else from getting hurt or killed.
“These are people’s loved ones, these are human beings,” WPD Assistant Chief Donny Williams said. “This is not a video game.”
Williams says the recent spike in violent shootings is not out of the ordinary. He says the department has seen this before and knows how to respond.
“Immediately we have increased patrols, we called people in this weekend and we put more people out in these areas where we’ve seen the gunfire taking place,” Williams said.
Williams says there is no single root cause to all of the shootings, but most victims were targeted.
“Some have been over gang retaliations, we think one was over a possible drug deal gone bad, and then I believe a few of them were domestic or disputes,” Williams said.
Assistant Chief Williams grew up in Wilmington and says victims and witnesses often don’t want to cooperate with police for fear of retaliation. He is now making a plea to the community.
“If you know that someone has an issue with someone else and they’re going to harm them, please make us aware of it, so we can try to get someone over there to stop it,” he said.
Williams says the Wilmington Police Department is also looking into implementing a long-range gunfire suppression program. This would involve prevention among kids, intervention among teens involved in gun violence, and strong enforcement for those who do not follow the law.
Like Assistant Chief Williams, newly elected Wilmington City Councilman Kevin Spears is a Port City native. This past summer, his 19-year-old son was injured in a shooting on Princess Place Drive.
Spears, who has been a community activist for years, says he’s been working to try and end the violence.
“I’ve talked to different people and they say, ‘maybe,’ and others say that it may just have to take its course,” Spears said. “We don’t want that to happen because at the end of it, we don’t want a bunch of casualties, we don’t want a bunch of injuries.”
If you have any information to pass along to police, you can do so completely anonymously using Text-a-Tip. Click here to learn how to use that system.