Local News

String of Raleigh Homicides Causing Concern

Posted March 27, 2008 10:39 p.m. EDT
Updated March 28, 2008 10:36 a.m. EDT

— The number of homicides in Raleigh is raising concerns. Seven people have been slain since the first of the year, triple the number from the same period last year.

A few of the homicides happened within a mile of one another in central Raleigh.

Jan. 8, officers responded to a shooting in the 1300 block of Walnut Street. Derrick Dangelo Swinson was found fatally shot. He was behind a residence.

Jan. 9, Phillip Michael Hart, 21, was found outside a Damon Court home. Hart died at WakeMed, and the case was ruled a homicide, but police have not disclosed how Hart was killed.

March 23, Antonio McLean, 30, was found shot to death at 636 Coleman St., off Rock Quarry Road.

"It's not usual to have that number of murders occur that close in time and distance,” said Jim Sughrue, spokesman for the Raleigh Police Department.

Since the 1960s, Lacy Murchinson has lived in central Raleigh, where a few of the recent murders occurred.

"It was a lot better than it is now,” he said.

Flashing police lights and yellow crime scene tape have become common sights in some Raleigh neighborhoods.

"We all need to step up to the plate and work with our police department. A lot of these are social problems, and these problems must be addressed,” said Octavia Rainey, chairwoman of the North Central Citizens Advisory Council.

Rainey said more needs to be done to get guns off the streets. Four of the seven murdered victims were shot.

"The issue of gun violence and the issue of accessibility to guns must be addressed," she said.

Raleigh still statistically has a low murder rate – roughly six homicides for every 100,000 people. There were 22 homicides in Raleigh in 2007, up from 19 in 2006.

Police have a history of solving more than 95 percent of the murders committed in the capital city. But four of the seven murders this year remain unsolved.

Anyone with information that might assist a murder investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 919-226-CRIME.