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Albany: Cycle Of Gun Violence Continues

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

It has been a violent weekend with four shootings in the city of Albany, marring the Columbus Day holiday period.

Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox, spoke to reporters mid-Monday morning outside Headquarters on Henry Johnson Boulevard, a briefing after a series of four weekend shootings.   "I would say that while I understand they are scared, somebody needs to take that step. We're here to help them and we can help protect them. There's nothing to be scared of. We can help them out. When one voiced comes forward, everybody's voice comes forward, and we need to do that together."

  • An 18 year old male was shot in the back and leg Friday night in the vicinity of Clinton Avenue.
  • Saturday afternoon, a 20-year-old male was shot in the buttocks at the corner of Lark and Sheridan.
  • On Saturday evening, a 23-year-old male shot in the leg along the 200 block of Livingston Avenue.
  • In the wee hours of Sunday, a 20-year-old male shot in the leg near Jeanette and Delaware while sitting in a vehicle.

Cox feels these episodes of gun violence may be related:    "I don't have the investigative leads in front of me to say that 1, 2, 3 and 4 are connected, and we may find out through investigation later on that they're not, and I'll be out here saying they weren't, but, I have a very hard believing that these are not connected, and they're certainly not random."

Credit WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas
APD Mobile observation tower watches over Clinton Avenue at Quail Street. 12 October 2015

Despite leaders’ best efforts to get guns out of circulation, they continue to proliferate.

Cox alluded to the 2008 Kathina Thomas killing: the 10-year old was playing on the sidewalk outside her home in the west hill section when she was hit by a stray bullet fired from a "community gun"...  Cox is asking for citizens to help stop the violence.   "Any time somebody fires a gun, somebody innocent could get hit. And don't get me wrong on that, I don't want anybody struck by gunfire. But we've had incidences before in our city where innocent people, specifically children, were struck and died due to taht incident. It can't be tolerated. And the folks that know the individuals that are carrying guns on our street, they need to do something to help. They need to turn them in or they need to grab that individual and stop them from doing what they're doing. There's people who know who has the guns in our community and they need to stop them. They need to help us stop them, or they need to stop them themselves."

Albany activist Marlon Anderson says while the city has no shortage of anti-gun advocates, until they unify, lawlessness will continue.  "Until we get that coordinated effort to address the violence in the community, we're gonna continue to fight a losing battle and people are gonna continue to die."

Anderson has been calling on advocates to form a united front since 2013.

Meanwhile in Hudson, police are investigating the death of 27-year old Cory Valasquez, stabbed in the neck inside his apartment on Sunday night. He was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital, where he died. Police have said they will release more details later.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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