MONROE, NC (WBTV) - Within two weeks the city of Monroe has witnessed two homicide cases. Police officers say having back-to-back killings is not normal for the area and its draining the department.
The city is hoping they don't get a bad reputation after they witnessed two murders over the last couple of weekends. Residents say there's several things the city of Monroe is proud to be known for instead.
"There's lots of friendly faces, everyone usually waves," says Myles Spurling, who lives in the area.
Pete Hovanec who works as the spokesperson for the department, says "We have a lot of opportunities for growth, living and working."
"We don't need this anymore, this is not good for us. This is not good for our community," Hovanec said.
The first homicide was a shootout at Relax Inn - four men were involved and one person died. That case is still under investigation.
On Sunday, three people were injured and another man was shot and killed inside a house on Massey Street Extension. Investigators believe it was 36-year-old Torey Jermaine Brooks who pulled the trigger. He is still on the run and has yet to be caught, officials say.
The two cases aren't connected, but they do have one thing in common- both situations started because of an argument.
Hovanec adds, "It's sad and its frustrating that in today's society we have to deal with this. Individuals just have disregard for human life."
Henry Walker, another Monroe resident, says "There's no way in Monroe, we should've had two killings. Our young men...there's no way that should have even been a consideration."
Hovanec says the recent killings have taken an emotional and physical toll on officers. Murder cases are rare and Hovanec describes it as a once in a blue moon type of situation. The cases officers usually handle are petty crimes, officials say.
"I mean the typical- your robberies, your vandalism, and theft. Things like that," Hovanec confirms.
Folks who've made a life in Monroe say the back-to-back murders are a sign of changing times.
Others are hoping for some divine intervention to help change the need to pick up a gun simply because of a disagreement.
"I believe prayer is the only thing we have left now for our young men. Just pray for them, we can't write them off," Walker says.
Police officers say the next step is to reach out to community leaders, pastors and organizations to spread the message that everyone should value life.