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City of Jonesboro officials say weekend shootings related to gang activity

City officials are responding to a rash of recent shootings that occurred over the week in Jonesboro.

Local media have reported several shootings that occurred over the past week . The latest shooting was reported on Monday near the Southside Softball Complex, according to a Jonesboro Police Department Facebook post.

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliot said during Tuesday's press conference that the department is investigating the shootings and believe them to be spurred by gang activity.

“The shootings this week involve one group of people trying to settle their disputes with gunplay,” Elliott said. “We know there are witnesses to the crime, although they are reluctant to reveal information out of fear of retaliation. It makes our job harder, but sometimes the only way we can make a case is with forensic evidence.”

Despite the recent gun activity, Mayor Harold Copenhaver said that gun crimes in the city this year are on par to trends in 2019.

“Year over year, violent crime in Jonesboro has not changed much per capita,” Copenhaver said. “That said, if you are the victim of a crime, statistics don’t matter. I don’t want people to be afraid, and times like this are frustrating because Jonesboro is and will continue to be a safe city for law-abiding residents. It will also be a bad place for people who want to commit crime.”

Data from the Jonesboro Police Department showed that gunshot incidents to date in 2021 total 67, which matched exactly the number from 2019, as of November 23. Officials say that gun crimes dropped 2020, citing the coronavirus pandemic. But, Elliot pointed out that in 2020, the department did respond to more domestic violence calls.

The city said in a statement that leaders are committed to preventing such activity and have met extensively about ways to further reduce all crime in Jonesboro.

Police said the victim from the Southside Softball Complex shooting was admitted to a local hospital. Elliot said that all of the shootings are under investigation.

Elliot also dispelled rumors that the weekend's shootings were connected to the fatal shooting of Memphis rapper Young Dolph last week.