More homicides this year than in the past six years
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- This year in Charlottesville, there have been bold daytime shootings, shots fired into homes and businesses, and some have resulted in deaths.
Charlottesville is seeing a spike in gun violence this year. This is leading to more gun deaths than the city has seen in six years.
Chief Michael Kochis, with the Charlottesville Police Department said in a little less than three months, there have been five homicides, which already is the highest we've seen since 2017.
Now, going back just four years, according to the CPD's Crime Statistics on the number of homicides per year, in 2019 there were two, 2020 saw four, and there were zero in 2021. The data from 2022 has yet to be released, but currently, 2023 is the worst year for homicides we’ve seen recently.
Although Kochis still claims that Charlottesville is a safe city, he says that this high rate of crime and violence is making the community feel less safe to go about their normal days, such as walking down the street, going to a local bar, or even walking into a mini-mart to go shopping.
"You're not gonna think its safe. I get that. And so, it's up to use as a police department working in partnership with the community to address the root causes,” Chief Michael Kochis with the Charlottesville Police Department said.
When asking Kochis about the latest shooting that happened over the weekend on Elliewood Avenue, near the UVA Corner, he wouldn’t clarify if the suspect and victim knew each other. Both the suspect, 21-year-old Lakori Brooks, and victim, 26-year-old Cody Brian Smith, were both from Charlottesville. Although Kochis wouldn’t confirm or deny their relationship, he did say that they got into an "altercation.”
When talking about the amount of gun violence in the Charlottesville area, Kochis says that he's adamant on putting a stop to the city's crime spike.
"So, here we are again. We have a family that's grieving the loss of their child because somebody decided to settle a dispute with a firearm. But I want to be clear about something. You do not have the right to take the life of another individual because your feelings are hurt. But if you do, we're gonna use every resource available to us, whether it be local, state or federal resources, to make sure we bring you to justice,” said Kochis.
Kochis says that each of these past homicides have involved people who knew each other in some capacity.