Wilmington Mayor calls violent start to 2017 “unacceptable”

Wilmington Police investigate the shooting death of 66-year-old Charles Mays. (John Jankowski/for NewsWorks)

Wilmington Police investigate the shooting death of 66-year-old Charles Mays. (John Jankowski/for NewsWorks)

After a series of shootings, some fatal, in the city in the first two weeks of the year, Mayor Mike Purzycki outlined a series of actions the city is taking in response.

Solving Wilmington’s problem of violence was the preeminent topic throughout the 2016 mayoral campaign. The first two weeks of 2017 have seen ten shooting incidents in Wilmington.

“What has been happening over the last few weeks would border on the unbelievable if it were not so real, disturbing, disappointing and unacceptable,” said Mayor Purzycki. “Violence must create a greater sense of urgency among our citizens to work with the police to stop these behaviors.”

This year’s fatal shootings include the death of a 64-year-old Santanu Muhuri, a convenience store clerk shot in the head during an apparent robbery at the Lancaster Market on N. Clayton St. on Jan. 9. Two suspects were arrested in that case, 22-year-old Devonte Dorsett and a 14-year-old. Just after noon on Saturday, 66-year-old Charles Mays died after being shot. He was found with gunshot wounds inside his truck in the area of Gordon and Lamotte St. The latest shooting happened Sunday afternoon. A 23-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound to the chest in the 2100 block of N. Church St. He was taken to Christiana Hospital in critical condition.

Purzycki, working with Police Chief Bobby Cummings, has called for Wilmington Police to start an anti-violence strategy with officers working overtime in cars and on foot in high crime areas. Officers will also increase their contacts with city residents in the areas affected by this recent rash of violence to develop additional leads and take away guns from those prohibited from carrying weapons.

“Time is of the essence to make changes in our city because there are people among us who are out to destroy themselves and think nothing of harming others,” Purzycki said. “I have had an urgency to get things done and to do things differently in Wilmington which is why I sought this office.”

Purzycki is also calling on residents to do what they can to help police. “I am asking you to step forward and cooperate with the police on the current investigations and I am asking you to help the police remove guns from the people who should not possess them.”

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