“When will we say, as a city, as a community, that enough is enough?” Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble said at a news conference Monday night.
The chief projected strength and compassion as he exhorted Killeen residents to assist the police in solving a recent spate of homicides.
Kimble called the news conference at Killeen Police Department headquarters in the wake of three fatal Killeen shootings last week, all conducted between Sept. 5 and Sept. 7, bringing the city’s criminal homicide count to 13 this year.
Kimble announced that there was one common denominator between the crimes: gang violence.
“These murders are related to the hybrid gangs YPC, KTM, and Stretch,” Kimble said, referring to gangs known as Young Paper Chasers and K-Town Mafia. Those two gangs were also named by Kimble in January when he held another impromptu news conference denouncing a rash of gang shootings that shook Killeen at the end of last year.
Unfortunately, KPD detectives is stretched thin.
“We’ve got detectives working 24-hours a day, but they just can’t do it all,” Kimble said. “We just can’t do it all.”
When asked what KPD’s plans are to address the issue, Kimble said that the agency has been met with some success working with federal agencies. Additionally, Kimble said that he plans to pursue federal statutes, including conspiracy charges which allow the state to prosecute individuals for conspiring to commit a crime.
To do that, however, the KPD needs evidence.
Kimble asked residents to report any suspicious activity to the Killeen Crime Stoppers, which provides an anonymous tip line.
“Give us anything to work with, and we’ll piece it together,” Kimble said.
Most of all, however, Kimble said that it is time to “stop harbouring” gang-members.
“How can you sleep at night, knowing that the people you’re helping are shooting 5-year-old girls?” Kimble said, referring to a drive-by shooting Sunday night that injured a young girl and a 45-year-old woman.
“What will it take before you start to act?” the chief asked.
Compounding the issue is one of Killeen’s unique traits and recent buzzword: the transient community.
Kimble explained that, due to the transient nature of Killeen’s population, it’s difficult for individuals to feel a sense of community and stability, without which hybrid gangs easily intimidate and control portions of the population.
Kimble concluded the news conference on a positive note.
“We are in a better position than we were last year,” Kimble said. “And in general I believe that Killeen is a safe neighborhood. But we need your help.”
Bell County Crime Stoppers may be contacted via its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BellCountyCrimeStoppers/, or by calling 254-526-8477.