ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Albany city leaders were fired up at a press conference held Monday morning.
They shared shocking new details in a murder case where a 61-year-old woman was dragged, strangled and killed outside of the Albany Bus Station a week ago.
Albany Police Chief Michael Persley hosted the conference. He said the senseless death of Teresa Lynn Cole has shed light on several issues within the community.
Persley said Cole and her suspected killer, Xavier Keeley, were both “a part of the homeless, mental health and substance abuse culture.”
It’s a population Persley said is a serious issue that needs to be tackled.
Another problem, Persley said, was that there were several people watching the attack happen but didn’t do anything to stop it or help Cole. He questions the moral compass of those who looked on.
Persley said that this shouldn’t be the norm and demanded that it changes.
Leaders are now pleading for everyone to extend a helping hand when they witness a crime.
They also said now is the time for the entire community to step in and help the homeless population.
Leaders are calling on non-profit groups, churches and neighborhood watch groups to help with the effort.
“Instead of just stepping over them and walking over them, pass and ignoring them, what can we do? We have a lot of non-profit organizations and we do have the homeless coalition, who they do a good job, but they need help and resources,” Persley said.
We’re told the crime was caught on surveillance video from a gas station across the street.
Persley said there were people who helped them solve the murder but said others watched. He said that it’s everyone’s duty to watch out for the general welfare of the community.
Persley is telling people to at minimum, call the police. He said if you see something, you need to say something.
“Do some type of distraction, make a noise, get involved. And I’m not necessarily saying go out and get physically involved, but even if you feel scared, you can do something. Anything,” said Persley.
Persley said details show that both Cole and Keeley had previous contact before. He also said an officer saw the crime but that the witness was not employed with the Albany Police Department.
Commissioner Bj Fletcher is upset people saw the crime and no one stopped it.
“You see things all the time that you report on social media, just because that’s the life that we live. But you don’t see things that you need to report. It’s easier to throw people like this under the curb and I’m here to tell you to stop it! Do your part!” Fletcher said.
Persley said this is still an active investigation. He said no one should live in fear for their safety as his staff will continue to work hard to protect the community.
Persley said he’s not satisfied with just an arrest, he wants Keeley convicted for this senseless crime.