Police chief: As weather heats up, so does gang activity - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Police chief: As weather heats up, so does gang activity

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By Darragh Copley - email

NEWBERRY, SC (WIS) - Newberry police say a rise in violence can be blamed on two gangs. Now they're looking into shootings and armed robberies in one area in the last two weeks.

"One bullet went through my bone," said 19-year old Dezmond Wilson, standing only a few feet from where he was shot last week.

Wilson said he still comes to the park with his brothers even after he was shot.

"We were just chilling outside my house, a car had rolled by," Wilson recounted. "I just heard a shot and when I looked down at my foot, there was a hole in it."
     
Just two days before, their cousin was also shot nearby.

"My cousin he don't do nothing to nobody, so I don't know what happened with him getting shot or why they would shoot him," said Jamel Howse, a relative of the victim.

Wilson didn't think his shooting was gang related, but Newberry Police Chief Jackie Swindler thinks it may be connected to two local gangs. Swindler said the recent spike in violence is typical with warmer weather.

"We are very awake to these type of activities but through investigation, intelligence, we can find the gang members committing these crimes," said Swindler.

"They be thinking it's the Wise Street Gang against the West End Gang but it's really not," said Howse.
     
Howse and his brother both deny being in a gang. Howse says his neighborhood is safe despite last week's shootings.

"It ain't no gang thing, it's just people doing stupid stuff," he said.

Newberry police say no one has been seriously hurt, but there have been some close calls. In one incident, three women were shot at while riding in a car near the Vincent Street Park last month.
     
At least one person has been arrested in connection to the recent shootings, but the police chief said they are looking at several suspects.

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