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Saturday, April 28, 2012


The statistics for shootings and homicides on the HPD website are a month behind, but we are close to 50 percent less homicides this year than we were last year at this time. Much of that can be attributed to efforts of the Shooting Task Force efforts combined with HPD's overall efforts. Unfortunately another homicide victim was added to this years numbers when a 38 year old man was shot at least 7 times in broad daylight on Brook Street near the intersection with Mather Street. The man was shot by a suspect riding a bicycle who let loose with at least 11 rounds in a very busy neighborhood. The neighborhood has a notorious reputation for its violence, but it is a striking contrast when you actually view the neighborhood in the daylight.

 I visited the scene shortly after the crime scene tape went up and I had to park about a half block away due to streets blocked by police cruisers with their lights flashing. What really struck me though were two things as I walked to the taped off intersection. The first were the voices of probably a couple hundred children celebrating an event on the playground area of the Albany Avenue Branch of the YMCA, complete with music and a DJ. It was a sharp contrast to the crime scene playing out its deadly results a couple hundred feet away. The other were the modest, well kept single family homes on the block of Mather Street where I parked. Several of the homes had mothers on the porches with very young children either on the porches or playing in the front yards.

 Before the crime scene taped area was actually expanded, the pedestrian traffic was heavy with people walking, including women with young children in strollers. I have never really been able to figure out what would be going through someones mind as they commit a homicide. What kind of rage would cause someone on a bicycle to ride up to another human being and unload a 9mm slug into their forehead and continue shooting, hitting them at least another six more times as they drop to the ground. The other four slugs went somewhere, just not into the victim.

 What kind of person could fire deadly rounds without any regard for children on a playground, mothers pushing strollers or even a young child playing innocently in the safety and security of their fenced in yard? The biggest problem though the more I think about it is that there probably isn't any rage that goes into these shootings. It is more about the "business" of the streets and a life is taken over a couple hundred dollars lost in a drug transaction or giving someone the wrong "look". No regard is given to the innocent potential victims or the psychological damage done to the residents, young and old who may be on the streets and see someone shot point blank between the eyes.

 How do we break this cycle where human lives seem to be worthless to these young shooters. They are far from being marksmen and today was by luck that there was only one victim, although I am sure his family feels less than lucky tonight as they plan to bury him. There will also be another "victim" in this shooting most likely as the shooter will most likely be caught and realizes too late that his life and what he could have been will be spent inside a prison. By a great combined effort between the Shooting Task Force and HPD's Major Crimes Unit, 4 of this years 5 previous homicides have already been solved. I am told that #5 is close to being cleared by an arrest and today's most likely will be cleared pretty fast also.

 That average seems to be much more in favor of HPD than the shooters. Do the shooters think they will escape discovery or does that even figure into the decision making? I don't want to seem like I am condoning violence, but what ever happened to fistfights? At least then you had to calculate your odds ahead of time and make a decision who would prevail. It just seems cowardly to me to settle a difference with a handgun, it seems like any coward can do that. And even worse is some coward who thinks nothing of his missed rounds going into a child in a stroller.

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