APD: Guns+Youth = Problems - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

APD: Guns+Youth = Problems

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

July 24, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Six of the seven homicides Albany Police have worked this year include a victim or a suspect under the age of 25. Four of those deaths involved guns.

Police say guns in the hands of young people is more than a problem, it's an epidemic. One they're working to stop.

The year started off with a bang police were hoping to avoid. A young man, 16-year-old Antwon Luke, was gunned down in the street. Police have charged a 15-year-old in that case.

Just a month later, 24-year-old Cleveland Carter was shot and killed while in his car on Magnolia Street.

The 21 and 30-year-old suspects haven't been caught.

"We need to get the guns out of the hands of young people," said APD Spokesperson Phyllis Banks.

Young people committing senseless crimes. In March, 28-year-old Manuel Montanes was shot and killed. Police arrested four people in that case, all teenagers.

"There is a great concern with guns in the city of Albany," said APD Cpl. Terrence Whitlock, "Therefore we will pursue more efforts to get guns off the street."

The latest victim of a gun crime in Albany, whether intentional or not, was 17-year-old Edward William Bell, Jr. Police say he was shot by his cousin, who is also 17.

"Anytime we have the death of a young person it is a concern of the Albany Police Department," Banks said.

"When you go to a crime scene like we did yesterday and officers learn that a teenager has lost his life to a gun shot wound, it's a trying thing on them to have to investigate a crime like this," Whitlock says.

Albany Police have not made arrests in two murders from this year.

They are still looking for 21-year-old Yolanda Shakilla Cleveland and 30-year-old Neil Adam Smith. Police say they gunned down 24-year-old Cleveland Carter on Magnolia Street on Valentine's Day.

They haven't named any suspects in the death of 67-year old Susie Hollingsworth who was killed in her home on April 30th.

Anyone with information on either case should contact crimestoppers at 229-436-TIPS.

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