Police: Citizens are protecting shooters

Local law enforcement officials said members of the Gainesville community are shielding those responsible for recent shootings and called on citizens to come forward during a Tuesday press conference.

State Attorney Brian Kramer and Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones made the remarks following Monday night’s drive-by shooting—the second in as many days in East Gainesville—and said police need help to solve the crimes.

“We’re very concerned that this is going to continue unless the community steps forward and tells the investigators who it is that’s doing this,” Kramer said. “We believe that information is out there.”

He said all types of information is needed and members of the public who come forward will receive the full protection available under the law, including staying anonymous, if possible.

Citizens can give background to the police department without needing to continue in the investigation, Kramer said. Law enforcement can carry those tips forward and investigate to find the perpetrators.

“Otherwise, there’s no reason to expect that this type of gun violence is going to stop anytime soon,” Kramer said.

Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones speaks at a press conference

Jones said GPD has received leads on the two shootings that occurred Sunday and Monday but would like to see more information coming from the public. He emphasized Kramer’s message―stating if you see something, say something.

Jones also asked gun owners to diligently guard their firearms.

“A lot of these guns are taken out of vehicles,” Jones said.

One of the guns used in last month’s American Legion shooting was reported stolen from Newberry in May. And recent burglaries of 12 unlocked vehicles resulted in four missing guns.

Jones said the department was working around the clock on several open cases and attended a community forum on gun violence just last night.

He said the city is considering a gun buyback either later in July or at the beginning of August. The police department also met with businesses located along East University Avenue last Wednesday to discuss forming a business watch.

“What we’re seeing now is somewhat different from what we’ve seen in the past,” Kramer said. “Which is that, we’re seeing that the perpetrators of these crimes are younger and that the indifference that they have to the safety of other people is greater.”

In the past month, at least 13 people have been shot in Gainesville and two killed.

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