St. Louis Police suspect four of six killings over the past weekend were drug-related, Chief John Hayden said Monday.
Drugs were found at two of the crime scenes, but police would not identify them. All the victims were found shot in their cars.
“Fifty percent of our homicides we know, just from historically, are drug related, so this just goes hand-in-hand with the fact that there’s quite often drug activity and associated gun violence,” Hayden said.
Police do not believe the killings are part of a drug-related turf war, he said. The chief also said the police have been focusing on targeting open-air drug markets, which he called “a nest for high violence,” to attempt and reduce similar outbreaks.
Patrol plans will be changed in the wake of the killings to increase police visibility in an effort to mitigate retaliation.
Mayor Lyda Krewson said she’s worried about the killings but confident that police will solve the cases.
“One in 24 hours is very concerning, but certainly six in 24 hours is additionally concerning, and that’s why the chief is having a press conference to assure them it does not seem like these are random situations,” Krewson said.
At least two suspects, both men in their 20s, have been arrested in relation to one of the homicides. And, Hayden said, evidence in at least two of the killings suggest the victims knew their attackers.
Of the six victims, three were men, and three were women. They ranged in age from 20s to late 30s.
So far this year, the city has had 130 homicides — down 19 from last year at this time.
“It looked like we were certainly trending in the right direction,” Hayden said. “We were 25 homicides down as of Friday.”
The mayor and the chief encouraged anyone with information about the killings to call Crimestoppers, 1-866-371-8477, or the homicide division, 314-444-5371.
“We are always seemingly begging for information from others. As far as we’re concerned, we can solve all of them with the right information, and so when people are holding on to information and sharing it amongst themselves, it’s always very difficult to bring these investigations to the conclusion that we would like,” said Hayden.
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