By Bonnie Culverhouse
With the recent death of Ty’quan Morris, reported shootings are on the rise inside the Minden city limits. Since Jan. 1, 2021, there have been a minimum of 85 reports with local police.
However, a shooting does not necessarily mean a person was shot, said Minden Det. Chris Cheatham.
“Most of the shootings are from the same group,” Cheatham said. “And the 85 shots fired is not 85 people being shot. It’s just reported shots fired. It is 85 separate incidents of shootings – but, again, not 85 people being shot.”
In fact, he said those 85 shootings are probably 500 rounds of bullets.
Still, it’s more in the past six months than he remembers in the same time frame since he has been a police officer.
“If someone calls in a ‘shots fired,’ officers go to the area,” Cheatham said. “If they find evidence of shots fired, they generate a report. We’ve had 85 confirmed, where brass shell casings, bullets, damage to property were found.”
A person was shot in very few of the cases, he said. “It’s a lot less than 10 percent. That would be eight people, and we haven’t had eight people shot.”
Most of the shootings have taken place in the same area of town – an area where Chief Steve Cropper has ordered more patrolling for those reasons.
“We’ve got Carolina, Cherry, Joel, Peach, Plum streets,” Cheatham said. “Old projects, new projects.”
Persons who are pulling the triggers were mostly born and reared in Minden, he said, but perhaps more disturbing, the higher percentage are juveniles.
“They have no home training, no father in their house … they weren’t raised right,” Cheatham said. “It starts in the house, and by the time they get to us, it’s too late. They’re in the system; they’re going to jail. If their parents would quit letting them run the streets at two, three or four o’clock in the morning … to be out on the street at those times, you’re up to no good.”
So, where are these young people getting their weapons?
“Laws only affect good people,” the detective continued. “A criminal doesn’t care if it’s legal or illegal to carry concealed. They are stealing these weapons. People leave their cars unlocked.”
Some firearms come from the criminals’ ties to bigger cities.
“They get guns from cousins, friends of other people,” he said.
The number of shootings could be lowered if people would be proactive, Cheatham said.
“Nobody’s doing anything,” he said. “Our biggest problem: people see and hear things out there more than we hear and see, but they have zero regard to help us put these people behind bars.”
More officers on the street would help, too.
“We’re hiring; we’re short plenty of folks,” Cheatham said. “If I can put five men or women on a shift instead of three, that’s five I can have on the streets in the areas. A cop driving up and down the street will deter crime more than no cops in the area.”