BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — There have been 55 shootings in Buffalo since June 1, 2020. There were five shootings on Saturday, July 4th over a period of 6 hours, and there have been zero arrests.
“It angers me. It angers all of law enforcement,” said Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo, “There's no way the police department can do this by themselves. They need community participation.”
The 55 shootings in June 2020 compare to 31 shootings in June 2019. Gun violence has gone up 77%.
“55 shootings in our community and no arrests means no one is talking,” said Murray Holman, a leader of the Buffalo Peacemakers, “We say Black Lives Matter. We say All Lives Matter. Black on Black crime is picking up in our city when we're out here protesting George Flloyd and all those people that have passed on due to police brutality. Now, we're out here shooting each other. That doesn't make sense.”
Saturday night police responded to five shootings within just six hours. Captain Rinaldo said the shootings all seem to be targeted.
“We have this thing going on in our nation with police brutality. That doesn't mean find some guy you have a problem with and shoot him!” said Kenneth Stephens, a leader of the Buffalo Peacemakers.
“It's not just in Buffalo. It's across the nation,” said Holman.
“We're seeing numbers in terms of shootings and violent crimes spiking all over the U.S.,” Rinaldo said.
But why is that? Buffalo peacemakers think COVID-19 contributed.
“Because our organizations are not talking to the people and preventing some of that stuff there, including law enforcement, including clergy. We were talking to kids. We haven't had that conversation in months because we've been locked down,” said Holman.
Holman said the community organizations aimed at reducing violence are basically starting all over again.
“I think that we need to get back to the basics. We run around talking about this pandemic. We run around talking about what's going on in our country as far as police brutality. But we've first got to check our own selves. If you don't know what to do with your hands, do not put them on a gun and put your hands in your pockets,” Stephens said.
Police and buffalo peacemakers agree: the only way to solve these crimes is through talking.
“A lot of times, in all of these cases, what makes or breaks them is that one key witness that comes forward,” said Rinaldo.
Anyone with information on any of the shootings is urged to call or text the confidential tip line at 716-847-2255.