Through a violent week in Middletown, during which there were three shootings in five days between Monday, May 11, and Friday, May 15, the department moved quickly to determine suspects and not let the investigations linger, said Chief David Birk.
“Even though we are having these violent crimes, we are working together between patrol and detectives and ATF and everybody we can and we are finding suspects for these violent crimes,” Birk said.
The gun violence began on Monday, when a man shot and killed apparently over a dispute involving $10. On Thursday, a 17-year-old girl was shot at her residence, apparently after a argument with her boyfriend. And on Friday, a man was shot and killed during a dispute when a group of homeless people gathered on Curtis Street, according to police.
“These are all isolated, unrelated incidents involving all branches of society,” Birk said. “It’s not like we can have a task force to focus on one type of crime. We are doing all we can, we have detectives working split shifts trying to cover the weekends too, school resource officers working the street.”
Birk said warmer weather when there is usually an uptick along with being in lockdown with little to do during the coronavirus pandemic may be a reason for the rash of violent crime.
“It is a combination of everything. You have the warmer weather and people have been locked up so people have been together for so long so disturbances are occurring,” the chief said.
Birk said he believes in keeping residents informed about what is going on in their city.
“I don’t want to cause alarm, but I want the citizens to know what is going on, we are transparent,” Birk said. “But the most important thing is although these crimes are happening, our police department works so well together with other agencies we are bringing these individuals to justice, and that is our ultimate goal.”
Dhameer Haamid Scott, 24, of Prospect Avenue, and a 16-year-old boy have been charged with murder in the May 11 shooting death of John Booker.
Police say the teen confessed to shooting Booker, 36, at a Yankee Road residence in what investigators say was a dispute over $10. Scott is charged because he allegedly gave the gun to the teen and they fled out of state together. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.
Police continued to search this week for 19-year-old Daniel Calhoun, who is charged with felonious assault for allegedly shooting a 17-year-old girl at her Young Street residence on Thursday night.
Major Scott Reeve said people present at the house and witnesses were not truthful at the beginning of the investigation about what happened, saying the girl was injured while in the alley behind the house.
The teen’s mother called 911 reporting her daughter had been shot.
“I think my daughter was shot in the alley,” the mother told dispatchers. “My daughter was in the alley and she just came in and she said she was shot. She is bleeding… she is starting to lose consciousness.”
Reeve said an investigation revealed the girl was shot in her bedroom and indicated Calhoun was the shooter. The incident stemmed from a boyfriend/girlfriend argument, police say.
Jason Halcomb, 40, of Church Street was arrested and charged with murder a day after the Friday night fatal shooting of 28-year-old William Ray Riley on Curtis Street. He is scheduled to be back in Middletown Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing.
A group of homeless people had gathered on Curtis Street when Halcomb allegedly stole some property from a female. Riley came to her defense and was killed by Halcomb, according to police. He is being held on a $1 million bond.
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