By Sandy Scarmack
Herald Staff Writer
“The best we can hope for is that these folks remain a terrible shot,” said Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Chief Riley Smoot Jr., referring to multiple instances of gunfire in the city in the last two weeks.
No one was injured in any of the five separate incidents, all of which occurred between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
Police listed reports of shots fired at:
ä Beechwood Avenue and Washington Street on June 14 at 1:10 a.m. Six to seven shots were fired, and a gray Ford or Mercury Crown Victoria was seen leaving the area at the time. Police were patrolling nearby and heard the shots.
• Multiple rounds were fired along Ohio Street in Wheatland, near the area of the “dunes’’ at 4 a.m. June 14. Police said they saw an ATV fleeing the area through the dunes.
• Shots were fired at two women standing on a porch in the 900 block of Hamilton Avenue at 1:42 a.m. June 21. The shooter was described as a light-skinned black male, wearing light-colored clothing. Smoot said the women knew the shooter, but refused to identify him.
• The most serious incident, according to Smoot, is the shooting in the 300 block of Spearman Avenue, when a bullet entered an apartment and stuck in a closet. Residents said several shots were fired shortly after 10 p.m. June 24.
• Residents also complained of shots being fired in the 800 block of Roemer Boulevard at 10:54 p.m. June 26. A nearby car had a broken window, police said, but they weren’t sure if it was connected.
Smoot said he didn’t think the shootings were related to each other, and that there are a “multitude of reasons” why guns are fired.
“People are bored. They’re showing off. They miss usually because they’re trying to be cool and hold the gun sideways or something like that,” he said.
“I think the one in the dunes was someone with a .30 clip emptying it out,” he said.
The best that police can do is chase those who are doing the shooting, but residents can help, he said, by providing as much detail as they can.
“Of course, protect yourself first. But call us and keep calling us. If they can say what kind of car they were driving or give a description of the person or what direction they took off in, it will help us,” he added.
Guns, unfortunately, he said, are more prevalent now than ever before. Police are very aware when they approach a situation it may well involve a weapon.
“I’ve had complaints from people who said the officer approached their car with a hand on their weapon. Well, in this day, it’s part of the call. It’s best if people just sit calmly and do what the officers ask,” he said.