Community leaders react to recent gun violence

NOW: Community leaders react to recent gun violence

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- South Bend Police and the St Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit continue to investigate multiple shootings that have happened over the last couple of days.

Just after 2 o’clock on Monday afternoon, a 21-year-old man was shot in the arm on Lincolnway West.

He also suffered a face injury due to glass and was taken to a hospital to be treated.

Police say they are looking for a dark blue or black sedan, possibly a Ford Fusion as part of the investigation.

Officers are also investigating multiple shootings from over the weekend.

Now, city leaders are asking for the community’s help.

“It will not just be the police department that can do this. It’s going to take all of us in the community to stand up and say ‘this is ridiculous, this is enough, I need to step up and do something in my community,’” said South Bend Police Department Spokesperson Ken Garcia.

On Sunday at 4 a.m., a triple shooting injured three men in their 20’s on Western Avenue in the parking lot of a shopping plaza.

Over 200 people were gathered at the time of the shooting, and over 50 rounds were fired.

Keith Harris is a South Bend resident. He’s lived in the city for 21 years. He says the violence is becoming normal, and it’s time the community makes a change. “Whenever there’s violence or any shooting, it shouldn’t be part of the norm,” he said.

Harris lives near the triple shooting scene. “I’m right down the street from it, it raises concern,” said Harris.

Hours later on Sunday, just before 10 o’clock in the evening, a 31-year-old man, named Landers N. King-Slisz, was shot at Beacon Heights Apartment Complex. Right now he is critical condition, and the case is being investigated by St Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit.

But, South Bend Common Council President Tim Scott says those two instances were not the only time bullets were flying in the city over the weekend.

“On Saturday at 11 o’clock right over my shoulder between the light colored house and the blue house, there was a shooting that stemmed from a shooting over on Leland which is only a block away from over behind those houses,” said Scott.

Scott lives just across the street; luckily there were no reports of injuries from those shots fired.

“The big concern with everybody is truly safety. When people start shooting bullets go everywhere, and that’s definitely a concern,” Scott said.

“To those who are not feeling safe, what are you doing to help us? Are you coming forward? Are you talking to us? The people who were there they knew something. Somebody knew before those shots were fired,” said Garcia.

Scott says change will come once the root cause of the violence is identified.

“We’ve got to get down to the root cause. We gotta get down to people talking to each other, and if you hear something, say something,” he said.

Both Scott and Mayor Pete Buttigieg say that officials are exploring tactics to gun violence during preparation of the 2020 budget.

“The Common Council and the Police Department, we look at every opportunity that we can do about gun violence. Right now we’re looking at programs within the budget like the S.A.V.E program that Isaac Hunt is doing, extending that so he has more resources on the ground to talk to people. The police are doing the same thing with their community policing, trying to talk to people, trying to get to the root cause,” explained Scott.

The Mayor released this statement about this weekend’s gun violence to ABC57:

"There is no place for violence in South Bend. I urge anyone with information on these shootings to contact law enforcement so we can prevent the next incident. Public safety remains a top priority for us, and the Group Violence Intervention will continue to be leading our program. We are also exploring further approaches as we prepare the 2020 budget. As officers continue to build community trust, it is vital that residents share what they know so we can stop the cycle of violence."

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