Violence on Union Street

Enough is enough.  A murder and another shooting at nearly the exact same spot, one month apart.  Now community leaders are turning to the police for answers and help.

Abdul-Azeez Baker was murdered on Union Street Springfield on December 22nd.

Sunday night, the eve of the Martin Luther King holiday another man was shot almost at nearly the same exact spot.

A few blocks away at the Spring of Hope Church, community leaders are searching for answers.

“Just a strategy, a plan”, says Rev. Talbert Swan II, Greater Springfield NAACP President.

Rev. Swan asked to keep our cameras behind closed doors, but we were able to listen in to the inspired conversation.
One complaint was about the court system.   Rakeem Nelson was arrested for shooting at several houses on Wednesday afternoon.  Springfield police have arrested the 21 year old three times this month.  On January 15th, he was arrested for an assault with a handgun, but was back on the street hours later.  Police commissioner William Fitchet wouldn’t blame the judge.

“Some people slip through the cracks, sometimes there’s reasons for that that the judges are privy to that the people aren’t privy to”, says Commissioner Fitchet.

People in this neighborhood obviously want the violence to stop, but they don’t want just a band aid fix, they want some long term solutions.

The community has to come together we all have to work as a team, there can’t be a separation of police and neighborhood workers and once we do that the changes will begin”, says Janice Watson, Executive Director of the Dunbar YMCA.

Rakeem Nelson is in jail Friday night, his bail was revoked after his latest arrest.

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