KILLEEN, TX — There have been two fatal shootings in three months in Killeen. The latest victim was just 20-years-old. Now city officials tell 25 News what’s behind the spike.
Killeen police say they've always taken great pride in their community engagement, but because the department is among the many practicing social distancing, it could be a contributing factor to the number of fatal shootings.
"We're very concerned. We know that life for many people has changed. Our outreach to the community probably isn't where it should be because we have limited contact. If you, the citizens of Killeen, have a sick police department, we can't work," said Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble.
In 2019, there were a total of 16 fatal shootings in Killeen. So far for this year, there have been 12 fatal shootings with only three arrests made in connection.
Chief Kimble says he believes most crime is from domestic issues or gang-related.
"We're always sympathetic to all crimes. We don't want any crimes to happen in Killeen," said Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra.
Mayor Segarra says Killeen has seen an explosion in the population, but there aren’t enough officers on the street. There are currently 20 vacancies in the police department.
"We need to do everything that we can to make sure that we're providing all the resources that our police department needs to be able to do their job. We need to make sure that our police department is growing along with the city, not the reverse," said Mayor Segarra.
But he says while people are forced to stay in their homes, they can be on the lookout and alert police to suspicious activity.
"Where there's more eyes out there's more people that are in home watching their house, watching their neighbors. Our police department is doing all that they can, even more to prevent those crimes, but they can't be everywhere, so we need to make sure that we engage not just the police department but everything," said Mayor Segarra
Police are asking people with any information on any of the shootings to contact crime stoppers. You can remain anonymous and could receive a $1,000 reward.