Saturday’s shooting marks the city’s ninth homicide of 2016.
Although the number seems large, Erie Police Chief Don Dacus says the department is seeing a gradual derease in the number of homicides year after year.
In 2014, there were 11 homicides. In 2015, there were 10.
While it’s not something to be incredibly optimistic about, Chief Dacus says they’re heading in the right direction.
2016’s deadly violence started on Valentines Day, when police say 40-year-old Torriano Beard shot and killed 35-year-old Jemar Phillips.
The violence continued through New Years Eve morning where an exchange in gunfire killed 28-year-old Darren Germany and injured another man.
Six of 2016’s nine homicides are already solved. Beard was arrested for Phillip’s murder. Kyle Johnson committed suicide in prison after beating kum miller to death in her home. Derek Coon killed himself after stabbing and killing Stephanie Lassman. Billy Ray Gordon is charged with stabbing his wife Linda Gordon to death. 27-year-old Marquis Knight is in prison for killing 19-year-old Allen Basham during a shootout. 18-year-old Jaquel Tirado is charged with shooting and killing Steven Bishop.
Chief Dacas believes that the three open investigations could be solved with some cooperation from the community.
“In some cases, we can close based on evidence,” Dacus says. “In other cases we need direct testimony and direct witness account.”
A killer is still at large after three masked men entered a home on East 21st sheet, shooting and killing Antonio Yarger.
Then there’s the Isiah Wiley murder. Wiley was shot and killed in a vehicle on Bayfront Parkway. Chief Dacus says there was a passenger in the vehicle who refused to talk to police.
And finally, there’s Saturday’s deadly shooting that police are still investigating.
For 2017, Chief Dacus says the goal continues to be reducing gun violence. That’s their focus and priority.