Salisbury Police Chief: Stop using guns to settle disagreements

Salisbury Police Chief: Stop using guns to settle disagreements

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Following two shootings that occurred on Sunday, Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes held a press conference on Monday to give an update on the two cases, and an overall look at crime prevention efforts in Salisbury.

On Sunday morning, police responded to a call at 2:52 a.m. on Vanderford St. They found Rodney Antonio Carpenter, 32, wounded.

According to police, witnesses said Carpenter opened his front door after hearing someone outside.  Two men rushed in and shot and stabbed Carpenter.

Carpenter was taken to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and then flown to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital.

The case is under investigation. Police say it is not a random incident.

On Sunday night there was a deadly shooting at an apartment complex on Williams Road, between Standish Street and Old Plank Road.

It happened around 8:35 p.m.

When officers arrived they found Kornell Marquis Cook, 24, deceased at the back door of one of the apartments. Police on scene told a WBTV photographer that Cook had been shot multiple times.

Elija-wn Unique Oglesby, 18, is wanted for murder in this shooting, officers said.

The victim, Kornell Cook, is the brother of Jalen Cook who was charged in a double homicide on West Fisher Street.

Chief Stokes says that he does not believe the two shootings on Sunday were related.

"There have been 8 murders during seven incidents over six months," Stokes said.  "We've made arrests or have warrants for each murder that has happened in 2017.  Our criminal investigations detectives are extremely dedicated to working on these cases, putting in hour upon hour of time over and above their normal work hours to solving these crimes for the community and the victims and their families."

The chief went on to discuss the overall violent crime trend in Salisbury.

"Overall violent crime is down 4.6%, we are still faced with a gun crime problem," Stokes said, "that being assault with a dangerous weapon – guns and homicide. Gun crime is our major issue."

The chief talked about several recent strategies that have been put into place in Salisbury to reduce crime.

He said that the new foot patrols, or "neighborhood presence efforts," have been working to reduce the fear of crime for citizens by putting the officers being in the city neighborhoods.

The Neighborhood Crime Abatement Team that is working with Rowan Sheriff's Office Crime Reduction Team is specifically targeting areas that are experiencing crime spikes and targeting those involved in drug sales and gang activity, Stokes added.

"In just a few days (8/23 – 8/26) this joint effort has resulted in nine arrests and the seizure of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine," Stokes said. "I will quote the RCSO supervisor coordinating activity with the SPD sergeant who says 'I lost count of how many people we encountered that thanked SPD and RCSO personnel for our efforts.'"

"Our Narcotics Unit is very active in the investigations they conduct," Stokes added. "We can tie some of the crime to gang members who are involved in drug activity. These detectives are working to bring an enforcement element to the opioid abuse epidemic and those involved in drug sales."

Stokes noted the "close work with our partners, RCSO, State Bureau of Investigation, ATF, Federal Homeland Security, the Rowan County District Attorney, and most importantly the community,"  for helping to solve these crimes

The department has also recently revamped patrol areas, according to the chief, to provide a sound model for problem solving and crime identification, adding a level of accountability for officers and supervisors.

"We will be focusing on the goal of a significant reduction in violent crime through the City hosted Community Action Planning Sessions in upcoming weeks to develop strategies on how to reduce that crime. We have community ambassadors and involved citizens who will be joining together to develop those strategies as focus teams," Chief Stokes added.

Stokes strongest words dealt with the recent gun violence in Salisbury, saying that it is something that has to be stopped.

"This cannot be tolerated by our community," Stokes said. "We need to work together even more to resolve this gun crime issue. People need to resolve differences peacefully and not through resorting to firearms."

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