BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — After a violent weekend in Birmingham, the city’s police chief and family members of victims are speaking out against the rise in deadly shootings.
A total of 6 homicides took place across the city during a 48 hour span between Friday and Sunday night. So far, police don’t have any reason to believe the incidents are connected.
“Any time you have a major cluster like that it has a very tremendous and traumatic impact on the community,” said BPD Chief Patrick Smith.
The first two shooting victims were discovered early Saturday morning.
One man died in the parking lot of the old Kirby Middle School shortly after 7:00 A.M. The identity of the victim has not been released.
About an hour later, officers responded to the 3500 block of 17th Avenue North and located two men with gunshot wounds. One man died at the scene and another was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. Multiple people were taken in for questioning after shots were fired inside the residence.
On Saturday afternoon, Dwquawm Arthur Leon Roberson, 27, was pronounced dead after he was found shot in a vehicle along 87th Street North and 7th Avenue North.
Later Saturday night, 26-year-old Mikael Rashad McCord was found shot in a grassy field in the 1000 block of 17th Street Southwest. McCord was taken to UAB hospital and later died.
On Sunday afternoon, BPD responded to the Adona Apartments on the report of a person with a gun. While officers were responding, the call was upgraded to a person shot at the location. First responders found 30-year-old Daontay Dawon Jarrett on a staircase. Investigators believe Jarrett was walking in the parking lot when he was shot by an unknown suspect.
The most recent homicide occurred Sunday night in the 400 block of Fulton Avenue SW. 17-year-old David Desmond was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers believe Desmond was shot in the roadway. Police took two people of interest in for questioning, but charges have not been announced.
“I pray this is a wake up call to everyone in this city that we all should want to stand up against violence, that we all should work together to bring justice to these family members,” said Smith.
While no charges have been announced in any of the shootings, Smith said officers are working hard to identify suspects.
“On some of them we do have an idea of who the suspects are, we are just working to make sure we have good solid cases before we move forward and we want to close the loop on every area, that’s why we are asking if there is anyone out there with additional information to please step up and help us out,” said Smith.
BPD is using all of its tools, including the new real time crime center.
“It is helping us in terms of narrowing down the people inside and outside of a certain area. Certainly we cannot have a camera on every street in every corner of the city, but what we can do is use the technology that is available to us,” said Smith.
The ages of the victims in the weekend homicides ranged from 17 to 30-years-old.
“The tears hit me every day now since this happened,” said Onteonna Hankins, who lost her brother Dwquawm Roberson.
Roberson leaves behind three children who will now grow up without their father.
“I’ve just been trying to hold it together. It’s really sad, because when I look at the kids, I think of him. And every time I close my eyes, I just see him and it really hurts me,” said Hankins.
Just weeks before the holidays, Roberson’s family members are now preparing for a funeral. They have no idea who would have wanted to shoot their loved one.
“He loved his kids. He did everything for them, he mostly was a family person. Qwam was the type of person where he would give you the shirt off his back,” said Hankins.
Family members have started a GoFundMe page to raise money for expenses and Roberson’s children.
Hankins is hopeful an arrest will be made and is calling on residents to find other ways to resolve conflicts.
“I just wish the violence would stop. I really wish everyone would come together, because it really hurts losing a family member,” said Hankins.
BPD is asking for tips regarding the weekend shootings. If you know anything that can help, you’re asked to call Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.