A recent string of shootings in Killeen -- some deadly -- are the result of “violent illegal conduct of local hybrid gangs,” Police Chief Charles Kimble said Monday.
Kimble made the revelation during a police headquarters-based news conference aimed at addressing a recent rise in crime.
"They call themselves YPC, KTM, and The Stretch Gang,” Kimble said.
His comments came after a drive-by shooting in Killeen injured a 5-year-old girl who was riding her scooter Sunday.
The police department also reported investigating other shootings in the past week, including one involving the death of an 18-year-old man and another involving the killing of a 19-year-old woman.
Kimble said the gangs are localized to Bell County. They are hybrid gangs with no specific leader, he said. Their allegiances can change frequently, and they come together for trafficking, drugs, aggravated assault, and homicide.
Due to the hybrid nature of the gang, Kimble said investigators are facing roadblocks but the police chief said they also have strong leads.
"We don't have that steady community involvement," said Kimble. "People don't want to get involved."
According to Kimble, the same groups were involved in similar conduct in December of last year when another 5-year old child was shot in an incident.
"Here we are standing months later, again, where a five-year-old child was shot," said Kimble. "We have to say enough is enough."
Killeen detectives are working 24/7 to solve the homicides, according to Kimble.
"We have to have help from those people that live in the community," said Kimble. "We have to have the help particularly of those who are tired of the violence."
Kimble said the police department is going to spearhead this, as somebody has to speak for these victims. He also mentioned that anyone aiding in the housing, or transportation of these gangs will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bell County Crime Stoppers at (254) 526-8477 or go online. You can also download the P3Tips App for IOS or Android and give an anonymous tip.
"In general I believe Killeen is a safe city," said Kimble. "But we have to stay on top of those who are bringing in fear."