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Waco to answer rash of shootings with special anti-gang task force

Waco Shooting.JPG
Posted at 8:44 PM, Feb 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 12:17:19-05

WACO, TX — As we start a new week, lots of folks in Waco hope it will bring less gunfire.

By the end of last week, Waco Police had no less than 5 investigations underway. At this time, they said the incidents are unrelated.

Police and city leaders want people to know that help is on the way.

Investigators believe the Friday shooting on Trice had a drug and a gang connection.

"That's, that's very scary," said Michael Sonnenberg, who watched 5 shootings unfold around him in the last several days. He said this week's events have broke the peace of his quiet neighborhood.

"It's a quiet community, really. I mean, we have young people, old people, but it's very quiet," he said.

That is, until somebody shot up the house around the corner bringing crime right to his back door.

Neighbors near this house on Trice where three people were shot and one died told us about drug and gang activity here.

But Waco police say they've got a plan to tackle it.

"We'll leverage our law enforcement partners, into making Waco and the surrounding communities a safer place," said Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt to the Waco City Council last Tuesday night.

The plan? Build an anti-gang center and get law officers from miles around to join the fight, as police chief Ryan Holt told City Council just a few nights ago.

"Gang activity specifically, but other violent crimes, usually around narcotics. trafficking and those sorts of crimes that affect our communities," he said.

The chief received $1.5 million from the State of Texas to build it.

This past week, City Council gave him the green light to go after some operating money.

”Whatever access help we can, to lessen that burden, on our community, is something that I'm gonna fully support,” said Waco City Council Member Andrea Barefield.

After 5 shooting investigations in three days, Michael Sonnenberg wants action.

"I mean, if you can knock the gangs out, then, I mean, you don't have to worry about the guns getting back out the streets, people selling illegal guns. I mean, getting 'em off the street, that's the main thing," said Sonnenberg.

How soon might we see results from this anti-gang task force?

That's the best news of all.

Chief Holt plans to breakground before the end of this month - and get the center up and running in less than 6 months.

Lubbock, Irving, El Paso, San Antonio and McAllen already have anti-gang centers cleaning up their streets.