SCMPD holds news conference to address Labor Day weekend violence

SCMPD holds news conference to address Labor Day weekend violence

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - "This weekend's events have been disturbing, to say the least. Detectives and forensic investigators are literally working around the clock to solve these cases and lock up these violent offenders," said Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Maj. Richard Zapal at a news conference Tuesday after a deadly weekend in Savannah.

Violent criminals did not take the holiday off. Nine people were shot, two of them killed over this Labor Day weekend.

Metro police are saying the majority of the weekend shootings are group or gang related, but that's little consolation to those living in the neighborhoods where the bullets are flying.

Many in Savannah are trying to wrap their minds around the most recent spike in gun violence, and wondering if they can even make a difference. Police still believe they can.

"All we can do is just pray for them, I hope this mess gets stopped. I mean I'm upset about it because there's nothing I can do, but it doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense. This is crazy! People killing one another! You supposed to have love for people," said a woman who lives just a few blocks from one of the most recent shootings. Because of the ongoing violence and fearing for her own safety, she didn't want to be named.

But her concern is shared throughout the neighborhood. And the spike in gun violence was enough to get police talking today. They're hoping it gets witnesses talking, too.

"For those citizens who have courageously stepped forward and assisted us in our investigations to this point, we thank you for your efforts, and your assistance in bringing violent offenders to justice," said SCMPD Sgt. Hiram Rivera.

But the sergeant pointed out that there are still too many crime scenes where witnesses have valuable information but refuse to step forward.

Sgt. Rivera said, "We're frustrated, and we're tired. But we're still out here and we have not lost our determination."

It's that determination and dedication those living in high-crime areas are depending on, some fearing if those doing the shooting aren't caught, those innocent bystanders could get caught up in the violence.

"I mean, my grandchild could be going somewhere, and he could accidentally get hit with a bullet or something. I'm just saying," said one long-time Savannah resident.

Police said phone tips did go up over the weekend, but added they need people to come up to them immediately, even at the crime scene, to offer any information that might help solve the case in the early stages.

You can leave an anonymous tip by calling CrimeStoppers at 912.234.2020. You can also call the SCMPD tip line at 912.525.3124.

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