SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Local law enforcement along with Mayor Domenic Sarno addressed the recent uptick in gun violence across the city.
Sarno was joined by Springfield Police Deputy Chief Steve Kent as well as representatives from the State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Hampden County Sheriff’s Department for a news conference Monday afternoon.
According to police, there has been 21 shooting incidents between June 1 to August 14 this year, compared to 20 last year. However, 12 of those shootings this year are homicides, compared to two last year.
On Thursday, a discussion will be held about the recent acts of gun violence with Mayor Sarno, and the Springfield Police Department about programs and initiatives for the community.
This weekend, police were investigating two deadly shootings in the city. Around 9:20 p.m. on Saturday, police were called to the area of State and Dresden Street where they found a man with a gunshot wound. He later died from those injuries.
Around 2:35 a.m. on Saturday, officers were called to a car crash where two people were found with gunshot wounds. One person died in the crash and the driver was taken to Baystate Medical Center for her injuries.
Springfield Police say this year there has been 22 homicides, 20 of them labeled as murders. Also this year, they have taken 214 guns off the streets along with 26 ghost guns. There has been a 70 percent increase in the amount of recovered firearms.
MAP: Homicides in Springfield 2023
Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood stated, “These recent homicides have been targeted and are believed to be unrelated to one another. Our Homicide Unit under the direction of Captain Trent Duda is making progress on these investigations. The one common thread is the individuals involved and or suspected to be involved for the most part have a history with illegal firearms. What we are seeing is more fully automatic firearms and ghost guns than ever before and while there is a slight increase in shootings this year, we have seen more than 70% increase in the amount of firepower we recover. That is troubling. I do assure you, our dedicated Homicide Unit is working around the clock to try and bring justice to these victims’ families.”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “First of all, no matter what the circumstances any loss of life is tragic. My thoughts and prayers go out to the effected families. The gun violence is a nationwide epidemic and needs to stop. Families and loved ones are grieving. What makes this situation even worse, is that the recent targeted criminal activity involving illegal guns could have been avoided as these crimes many a times were committed by repeat violent criminal offenders. Criminal suspects that often times have prior arrests and pending charges, most of the time involving illegal and ghost guns, but yet our courts and some judges believe these repeat violent criminal offenders are ok and not a threat to our residents and business community. Yet, here we are again, as these violent criminal offenders continue to harass our neighborhoods and terrorize our streets. Lives could’ve been saved and families not grieving if our courts and some judges just did their job and kept these 1-2% of bad actors in jail and off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”
“Public safety will always remain my administrations number one priority. I have spoken with Terry Reidy, Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, over the weekend and again this morning about increased suppression patrols and he has reassured me and Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood that we will have the continued and increased support and partnership from the State Police to tackle this recent uptick of gun violence head on. We will also continue to work with all of our local, state and federal public safety partners, including the ATF, DEA, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, District Attorney Anthony Gulluni – who I both spoke too over the weekend, and the State Police. In addition, with Governor Maura Healey recently signing the state Fiscal Year 2024 budget, my administration will look to continue our partnerships with all of our public safety agencies and community partners to seek state funding to support community outreach initiatives and enhanced enforcement to help with the suppression of criminal activity, especially in cases involving illegal guns and ghost guns.”
“Let’s cut to the chase here, these bad actors have not and do not take advantage of the multitude of proactive and preventative programs my administration funds in our schools, youth development, mental health, street outreach, jobs, community centers, re-entry programs, etc., just to name a few. The only thing they would understand is incarceration. In the meantime, I will continue to meet with community stakeholders to keep all our youth and young adults on a positive path, so that they know there is no need for them to go down a negative path.”
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