St. Louis police chief: Drugs to blame in rash of killings
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police are investigating a rash of six killings over a 24-hour period, and the city’s police chief said Monday that illegal drugs are likely at the root of most of the violence.
The violent outbreak began with four shootings Sunday. It continued when two people in their 30s were found dead inside a vehicle at 6:30 a.m. Monday.
Police Chief John Hayden, speaking at a news conference, said two of the victims were a couple — she was found dead in a car, his body was in a nearby vacant lot. Otherwise, the crimes were apparently unrelated but with a common theme: All but one crime scene indicated drug activity, the chief said.
That’s not surprising, Hayden said, because gun violence and illegal drugs “go hand-in-hand.” He declined to discuss specific evidence but said drugs were found at two of the crime scenes.
Hayden said the number of killings in such a short period was alarming.
“We’re concerned when a single homicide occurs, but certainly when six occur in 24 hours we’re very concerned,” Hayden said.
Two men were arrested in one of the killings. The others remain unsolved.
The crime spree began just after 7 a.m. Sunday when Whitney Whitman, 33, was found dead inside a vehicle.
Around noon Sunday, police found Louis Bishop, 22, fatally shot in a vacant lot. Minutes later, 25-year-old Tamella Buchanan, Bishop’s girlfriend, was found dead inside a vehicle near where Bishop’s body was found.
Just before 9 p.m. Sunday, police found Teon Buchanan, 23, fatally shot inside a vehicle. Officers then found a second man with gunshot wounds to his hand and leg. He survived and, along with another man, was arrested in connection with Buchanan’s death.
Names of the victims found dead Monday have not been released.
Hayden said 130 homicides have occurred so far this year, down from 149 for the same period in 2017. The city had 205 homicides for all of 2017, the first time since 1995 that the number of killings topped 200.