Mayor calls gang activity "atrocious" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

APD vows vigilance

Mayor calls gang activity "atrocious"

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September 21, 2007

Albany -- Lawmen say they will crack down on gang violence after the shooting of a Monroe High School honor student Wednesday.  They worry that shooting could spark more violence.

Police say they will have extra officers on patrol in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, and in other known gang havens.

Investigators say they have a suspect in Wednesday's shooting. Now lawmen there is a big push on to break up those gangs and they are asking for your help.

But many people say the gangs are powerful, and they are too scared to fight them.

Mayor Willie Adams said that Dougherty County law enforcement is making the shooting of 17-year-old Dearious Williams Wednesday their top priority.

Mayor Dr. Willie Adams said "We are going to intensify our efforts to make sure that these atrocious activities come to an end."

Williams was shot four times in the back, chest, and head in what investigators say they believe may be a gang related attack. APD Chief James Younger said "We have developed a suspect in this case, and are currently working this case very thoroughly, interviewing several potential witnesses and people who have information about the case."

Police are asking people with information about gang activity in the Gillespie Avenue and Elm Street area to report it.

But most of the people we talked to there said they are too scared.  Otis Thornton said, "I don't want to get myself in trouble, but it is kinda scary and stuff around here. It's just bad business."

People in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred say they often live in fear. Jimmy Jenkins said "They stay in their homes, and mind their own business."

But lawmen say it is time to take those streets back, and call on the people there to fight back. Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards said, "People shouldn't live in fear. We've got to do what we can to make life safe."

Police say they will have additional officers on patrol in known gang areas tonight, to make sure there is no retaliatory violence after the shooting.

Jimmy Jenkins said he heard the shots Wednesday night, and understands police need the neighborhood's help if they are going to take back control of their streets. "We need to help some too. Most people are trying to mind their own business, but I think we need to get involved and help out."

But most people we talked with said the gangs there are too strong, and they are frightened they could be the next victim.

Hospital officials say Dearious Williams is now in good condition, and has been transferred to a private room.

Police say if you have information, you can report it anonymously at CRIME STOPPERS at 436-TIPS. You could get a reward.

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