Birmingham ‘completely devastated’ by shootings that left seven dead, 10 injured
“Over the past few days, the city has been completely devastated as we’ve witnessed unimaginable acts of violence committed by members of our community,’' said Chief of Police Patrick Smith
Though its best known as the seat of significant civil rights history, Birmingham, Alabama is now dealing with new challenges as an increase in gun violence is plaguing the Southern city.
Over the past week, 17 people have been shot there, leaving seven dead, per AL.com.
“Over the past few days, the city has been completely devastated as we’ve witnessed unimaginable acts of violence committed by members of our community,’’ police chief Patrick Smith said on Thursday at a news conference.
“I stand before you with a very heavy heart, because I know that this is useless violence that has plagued many of our young adults and simply did not need to happen.”
As the conference designed to address the violence, Smith referenced the 10 survivors of the 17 shootings.
“Although they survived, many of their lives will never be the same as they have been tremendously impacted by the sights, the sounds, the visions, what they’ve seen, what they’ve had to experience,’’ said Smith. “It is simply unacceptable.”
According to reports, a 32-year-old woman was shot and killed at Birmingham’s Patton Park on Sunday. A 19-year-old was shot and killed by police for allegedly having a weapon, a 44-year old man was fatally shot during a domestic dispute in front of children, and a 16-year-old was killed in a drive-by shooting.
A 39-year-old man was fatally shot during a dispute, a 19-year-old was shot and killed after intervened to end a dispute and another man was discovered fatally shot on the street.
On Thursday, Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway joined pastors, chaplains, Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama, and other top-ranking staff to address the surge of violence.
“My prayers go out to our communities and to the families that have been affected by any act of violence,’’ said Pettway. “We’re calling for the pubic to say something if you see something to help us make our communities safer.”
City authorities are desperate for help from the citizens to solve the cases.
Crime Stoppers Board Chair Frank Barefield added, “It’s every citizens responsibility to try to stop as much crime as possible, to make our cities as safe as possible so that your families can go and walk on the street without worrying about being mugged, or killed or shot, or something like that.’’
“If you have information about a crime and you don’t want to testify, or for some reason you’re concerned about retribution, call Crime Stoppers.”
He reminded citizens their identity will remain a secret if they choose to help crack any other cases.
“You’re totally anonymous, your tips go to the police and if those tips help solve a crime or result in the issuance of a felony warrant or the arrest of a felony offender, you’re going to get a reward and you don’t have to wait long,’’ Barefield concluded.
“Our board approves rewards every week. So if a tip to us this week and that bears fruit, you’re going to get cash money next week. That’s the best deal in town.”
As of Friday, Birmingham has had 30 homicides this year, slightly up from 2020’s total at the same time of year.
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