Homicide Numbers Raise Concerns, Montgomery Hits #14


By Ashley Thompson

July 28, 2012. That's the date of Montgomery's 14th homicide last year. Now here we are, in early March and the city has already reached that number. It's a concern for residents like Jeff Greer, who knew both shooting victims in the recent Smiley Court homicide.

"This is sad," says Greer. "This is very sad because this is like the 21st century. These guys were young. I'm talking about real young. This is sad because they were so young."

Both young men were shot following an argument, in the 3800 block of South Smiley Court. Authorities say one of the victims, 27-year-old Terrance Hall, attempted to drive himself to a hospital after being shot but only made it to a nearby intersection before dying. Another victim was transported to Baptist South with life threatening injuries.

Like this homicide, Montgomery Police Lieutenant Regina Duckett says there is a pattern with most of the city's homicides.

"The commonality in the majority of the cases this year is that there is some common bond between suspect and the victim," she explains. "All of them have been related somehow."

With 14 homicides this early in the year, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says the issue gravely concerns him.

"What it really boils down to are people just don't have appreciation today for the sanctity of life."

But although he believes some people don't value life, Mayor Strange says there are a number of other factors that go into the city's murder numbers.

"It has to do with prostitution," says Strange. "It has to do in large measures with gambling. It has to do with drugs and all of those things that are really - we want to rid our community of. So if we can stamp out that as well as domestic violence, we can make a really good effort."

But still, Greer says slowing down Montgomery's homicide totals has to start in the community.

"They were some good guys," he says of the Smiley Court victims. "But if you leave guys out here and you don't give them nothing, teach them nothing, they start heat. They start heating with each other."

Mayor Strange says another part of the problem is illegal guns and through the city's Illegal Gun Initiative, over 170 guns have been taken off of the streets so far.

Authorities say they do not yet have a suspect in custody in the Smiley Court homicide. A spokesperson for the Montgomery Police Department says they are currently working on other initiatives to help reduce violence in the city.


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