Police chief talks gun violence, plans to attack gang activity

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous spoke with League of Women Voters of the Lower Cape Fear today about gun violence, crime and gun safety.

As Chief Evangelous talked about gun violence in the Wilmington community, Bonnie Bechard could not help but think about the gun violence she witnessed right outside her Chapel Hill window 20 years ago.

“A bullet hit my window,” Bechard said. “My office was close to Franklin Street. At that time I was director of student loans.”

Bechard said a law student opened fire on the streets below.

“A young father was killed that day, so they are growing up without a father,” Bechard said.

She said the shooter is now spending the rest of his life in prison.

“He had fallen through the cracks,” Bechard said. “The mental health cracks.”

It is one of the reasons she became a part of a round table on gun violence prevention.

“We’re a new round table and we’re researching it now and we want to come up with positive things,” Bechard said.

One of those steps is listening and talking to Wilmington’s Police Chief.

“Oh he was a delight and I thought Wilmington is in good hands,” Bechard said.

Chief Evangelous said crime is at an all time low in Wilmington.

“Unfortunately, we’re not going to stop all crime, you know, and we still have a gang nexus as to a lot of these things that are going on,” Evangelous said. “We have some things going on right now that we think, down the road, when they come to fruition, that will have a big impact on this gang situation.”

Evangelous said there is more that needs to be done about gun safety.

“We see so many guns being stolen from people’s cars and homes that we have got to do a better job at securing our weapons,” Evangelous said.

Bechard said she wants to see more from lawmakers.

“I just want to shake our legislators sometimes,” Bechard said. “They know that a majority of people want to see the gun show loop hole closed.”

Chief Evangleous said his officers are continuing to work on outreach programs for at risk youth like the Supergirls camp. He said they are planning to roll out new technology on gang violence in the next six to eight months.

Categories: Community, Local, New Hanover