Albany's fourth homicide of the year sent city officials knocking on residents’ doors.
A weekend shooting near an intersection that has been associated with violence and gang activity resulted in the mayor and police chief going door to door to offer reassurance to neighbors that the city is taking a stance against violence. Albany Police spokesman Steve Smith: "We received a call from Albany Medical Center hospital that a man walked into the emergency room with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. When the officers arrived at the hospital, the hospital staff was already tending to the victim, who had to go to surgery. In an investigation, trying to determine exactly where the victim might have been shot in the city of Albany, determined through that investigation that he was shot at the corner of Second Street and Judge in the street, moments before arriving at the hospital. The victim was treated throughout the day at Albany Medical Center hospital following surgery..."
33-year-old Ahmad Fleming died hours later. A former "Jungle Junkies" gang member, Fleming reportedly served time in prison on federal drug charges following a 2006 indictment.
Smith says the investigation into Fleming's death is ongoing. "Following the homicide the chief and mayor did walk around the community in an effort to ensure residents that the police department and city officials are doing all they can to make sure that people feel safe. Sometimes when these things happen, there's a perception that, you know, crime is on the rise, that people are unsafe in the community and we just wanted to reassure people that they are in fact safe."
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan tells WAMC it's not unusual for her to knock on doors and talk to residents after an act of violence. She adds the majority of them just want to live in peace. "We're looking at nuisance abatement, we're looking at codes, we're looking at a number of ways that we can help to address the issues that we're seeing in these neighborhoods. And the other thing that struck me as I talked to residents is that they want to stay in their neighborhood. It's not as though they're looking to get out. They believe that that neighborhood is affordable, it's convenient, and they want to be safe. They want to live in a place where they can sleep at night, where they can send their children out, to walk to school, and not worry about their safety."
Although from time to time there have been calls for a new anti-loitering ordinance in the city, former common councilman Mark Robinson believes the corner store on the block shares the burden of guilt for local violence. "This is a decade long situation that's been going on in this particular area. This isn't something that happened overnight. This has happened over a long period of time. So they are as much as involved as those who are selling the drugs and committing the violence themselves, because they allowed it to go on."
Declining an on-air interview with WAMC, the owner of the Delaware Grocery corner store says he is waiting to see what if any action city officials take on the matter.