Under the gun: Police, leaders calling for action as Evansville homicide rate surges past 2020 level

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- The youth are dying prematurely, Evansville 4th Ward City Councilman Alex Burton (D) says, and that’s a “hard pill to swallow.”

As the Evansville Police Department opens its 17th homicide investigation of the year after a shooting on Savannah Dr. Tuesday night, Councilman Burton is mourning a friend- Bre’Osha Shene Suggs, the city’s 18th homicide victim in 2021.

Councilman Burton says Shene Suggs is not the first person he knew to fall victim to gun violence, but he says the weight gets heavier every time he hears about another person he knows being killed or hurt in Evansville.

Suggs’ death means the city has already seen three more murder victims than it did in 2020, with more than a week left in the year. Evansville Police Department Deputy Chief Stephanie Cox says the city’s homicide rate has increased dramatically in the past two months, though she notes that it’s not uncommon to see a series of homicides followed by a quieter period.

Still, Deputy Chief Cox says there’s no good explanation for why that is, saying “it’s just the way it is.”

But what is there to do for Evansville? Rev. Gerald Arnold from the NAACP says the city needs to come together to find a way to fight the violence alongside organizations like CAJE.

For Councilman Burton, it’s about funding more initiatives to support the city’s youth. Councilman Burton says the youth of Evansville need help, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Burton adds he will announce a series of events, including a youth town hall, after the new year.

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