Drive-By Shooting Latest Reminder Of Growing Gang Problem
Posted June 7, 2006 7:03 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — A total of six people have now been charged in a fatal drive-by shooting that left a 19-year-old Raleigh man and three others injured.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Raleigh police arrested a sixth sixth suspect, Deway D. Stewart, 18, and charged him with murder in connection with the shooting death of Jamel Amiens Jeffreys.
Jeffreys and three other men were standing near the shoulder of Beauty Avenue Saturday evening when shots were fired at the victims from one or more vehicles traveling westbound.
Police have also arrested Demetrius Rashaun Bullock, 16, Kerwin Ellis Pittman, 19, Tiara Banks, 22, Sean Tremaine McCullers, 16 and a 15-year-old girl in connection with the shooting.
Bullock, arrested on Tuesday, was in court facing murder charges.
Raleigh police said they the shooting was gang-involved, but has not said who might be a part of a gang.
Donald Burnett, who said he was like a surrogate father to Jeffreys, was the first to see him after the shooting. He does not believe he was in a gang, but thinks the suspects were. He held his friend's hand as he died in the middle of the street.
"They are killing each other," Burnett said. "It's bad. It ain't going to get no better until the police or the city really step up and do something about it."
Investigators say getting everyone more educated about gangs is the best way to deal with the problem. Law enforcement agencies are also getting better about sharing information throughout the county about cases that may be gang-related or gang-involved.
"Any of us could equally be involved in coming into this type of violence," said Captain Walter Martin of the Wake County Sheriff's Office.
Another way to help with the gang problem is through programs such as SecondRound, an after-school boxing program that asks gang members to check their colors at the door. Although it is less than five months old, it has already been successful at getting young teens off the streets and giving them a sense of belonging and confidence.
"It's refreshing and amazing," said Director Mike Rieder.
Meanwhile, Raleigh police continue to be on the front lines of the issue. The department has seven members in its gang unit, and is asking the city for seven new positions in the next budget.
The new positions would form a gang suppression unit that would be dedicated to keeping gangs from forming and taking hold in the city.