KINSTON - Kinston Department of Public Safety Director, Bill Johnson, says there have been 31 shooting investigations in the city for 2014.
The latest incident happened on the 700 block of Joyner Street at about 10:00 p.m. in the Jack Rountree Apartments. Police said bullets hit a window and door of an apartment. At the time four people were inside: two adults and two children-- ages five and one, says a witness from inside the unit. One of the adults was shot in the leg while protecting the children from the flying bullets and was treated at Lenoir Memorial Hospital. The incident is still under investigation.
Johnson says this year there have been 31 cases where shots were fired -- in 10 of those, people were injured.
"This just cannot continue," Johnson said. "We cannot except this in our community we just cannot."
More than a third of these cases are hindered by victims not wanting to cooperate with police in finding these criminals, Johnson says.
The department says they are aggressively fighting crime in Kinston, sharing with us a number of its efforts.
Johnson says a large part of crime is gang related. The department recently started a gang unit, a team of law enforcement officers who focus specifically on bringing down gangs in the area. The unit is less than a month old, but Johnson says investigators have already made 45 arrests and served numerous warrants for persons associated with gang activity in Kinston. Officials are also going into public schools to talk with kids about gang resistance.
Johnson also says the department has increased its presence in Kinston communities. They have increased patrolling and are interacting with the public more. They hope these efforts will build stronger relationships with community members, while also decreasing crime.
Johnson also says officials have been aggressively fighting crime in the streets. He says their efforts can be seen through officials recovering more than 150 weapons that could have potentially been used in future shooting incidents.
The department says with all of these efforts, they still need help from the public. They are asking for community members to come forward with information when crime happens so officials can press charges against those responsible.
"Everybody has got to be more proactive about reporting these things," Johnson said. "Because we will have a better community, but it's going to take all of us to get there."