Weekend shootings raise questions about South Bend violence

The St. Joseph Metro Homicide Unit is investigating three weekend shootings as possible gang-related violence.

The first took place at around 11 p.m. Saturday in the 1300 block of North Huey St., where 29-year-old Dominique Jackson was shot from the torso up and died in the hospital. Just 30 minutes later, Jarina Bailey and two other women were gunned down in the 1800 block of Lincolnway West, Bailey was the only woman killed. Autopsies conducted Sunday on both Bailey and Jackson ruled their deaths homicides.

Finally, around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, about a dozen shots were fired near the intersection of Huey and Vassar St. No one was injured, but many residents of the area around Huey St. say this is just another instance of violence.

Consuella Hopkins started a movement for a “New Huey.”

“It was a little nerve wrecking to experience something like that,” said Hopkins, “but I know that it’s needed and our community needs to do something and an outlet to talk about it.” That community meeting assembled Sunday night, a date decided before the most recent episode of gunfire.

Hopkins grew up in the area and returned to find more vacant homes, fewer home owners and more garbage and debris on the streets. She said the neighborhood has had a negative tone for the past decade and hopes to change that.

“I know there are good people on this block and they deserve good things,” Hopkins added.

Some residents say Huey St. has always been violent, and many declined going on camera for fear of being recognized. But Hopkins says the shootings and gun violence are done by strangers to the neighborhood. She hopes that if the residents take more time to turn on their lights at night, upkeep their yards and pick up trash a less-violence environment will develop.

“I want to see a walk-able community that if kids are outside they can be outside without danger of any gunfire or anybody hurting them in anyway.”

Mayor Pete Buttigieg issued a statement Tuesday after being questioned about how this type of violence factors into his Anti-Violence Commission. The statement read:

“This kind of unacceptable violence is exactly why I started the Anti-Violence Commission, to apply a highly effective group violence reduction strategy. We’re partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement, prosecutors, social services, education, health, and faith leaders to reduce group-related gun violence. Crime is down this year, but even one shooting is one too many. We must do more, and we will.”

So far no arrests have been made in relation to any of the three shootings. Police say interviews are ongoing and they are processing evidence from the scenes.

Metro Homicide was particularly outspoken over the weekend. Commander Tim Corbett and Lt. Dave Wells spoke frankly—referring to the perpetrators as “animals” and “thugs.” Corbett added, “animals kill for fun, these guys kill for pleasure.”

Corbett emphasized that this type of offender don’t care about where their gunfire may fall.

“They’re not thinking about you out there barbecuing with your family, your grandma sitting on a porch or you holding your baby,” Corbett explained that until people understand such shooters don’t care about victims, and until residents become upset to the point of assisting police, the violence will continue.

Officers issued strong assurances, saying they’ve taken down gangs before and they will “lock up” those responsible.

Metro Homicide urges folks to always contact Crimes Stoppers at (574) 235-9115 or contact police. Over the weekend Metro Commander Tim Corbett and Lt. Dave Wells emphasized how essential public tips are to beating the violence, highlighting the potential anonymity for those fearing for their safety. They said even anonymous tips can send police on a more direct route in their investigation.

“There are people who have seen these guys, and if they want a better quality of life for them and for their children—have the courage to step up now,” urged Corbett.

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