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Connected Shootings Highlight Violence in Capital City

Updated: Friday, April 25 2014, 03:44 PM CDT
SPRINGFIELD --- In the past couple of weeks, there's been a spate of shootings in the capital city. Police say they believe some of these cases are related, so as cops look to lock up those responsible, a Chicago-based anti-violence group is here trying to prevent the next shooting from happening.

"We're investigating a rash of shootings that occurred through out the city," said Detective Ryan Irwin with the Springfield Police Department.

Detectives believe these shootings are connected, saying that the same two groups are involved in at least two of them: one on the 2200 block of Stevenson Dr. on Wednesday and the other on the 1200 block of South 16th St. on Tuesday evening.

"We do have some persons of interest. We're looking into the relationships between the suspects and the victims," said Irwin.

Now, detectives are taking action to cover the streets.

"We're putting a lot of extra patrols out there. Some proactive patrols and some special details to try to alleviate what's going on," said Irwin.

But police aren't the only ones working hard to stop the violence. Cease Fire, an anti-violence organization new to the capital city, has a message for Springfield.

"Violence is not normal. It's not normal to go out and shoot someone," said Travis Williams, a Violence Interrupter for Cease Fire.

Their Violence Interrupters are also patrolling the streets, hoping to defuse any problems before the escalate to violence.

"I go out. I look for the highest of the highest risk, and I get those guys to curb some of the violence," said Williams.

"We have a 72-hour response time to every shooting, but we try to get out there before that, because we're pretty much behind the 8-ball. We're not even to the halfway point in the year, and we've had two homicides and a rash of shootings in the last few months," said Andre Neal, the Lead Outreach Worker for Cease Fire.

Cease Fire, then, works with them to get them the help they need, whether that is to get them a job or their G.E.D., or get them enrolled in a program offered by Cease Fire.

"We just want the killing to stop. And we want to make Springfield a safer place," said Catheuss McKay, an outreach worker with Cease Fire.

Police say while they do have persons of interest, they have not arrested anyone yet. Cease Fire officials says they will continue to be out there on the streets to try to keep the capital city's violence to a minimum.Connected Shootings Highlight Violence in Capital City

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