City shooting incidents increase

Last year at this time, the city was just emerging from a string of home-invasion shootings that lef
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Last year at this time, the city was just emerging from a string of home-invasion shootings that left two dead and several injured.

This year, the city has seen a string of street shootings that have been less deadly.

In fact, Schenectady Police Department spokesman Lt. Brian Kilcullen said the first quarter of 2008 has seen more shooting activity than the same quarter last year.

Police have been working to target trouble spots for enhanced enforcement, but the incidents have come in a wide area, Kilcullen said.

“What we’ve found is that in incidents like those we had on Sunday and Monday, the individuals involved are not randomly targeted,” Kilcullen said.

The most recent gunfire happened Monday morning, and five people were arrested after a three-hour standoff with police. The suspects ran into an apartment after reports of shots fired and finally surrendered, the last two after tear gas was used. No one was hurt.

There were two incidents Sunday. Two people were wounded at 10 p.m. near Bridge Street and Francis Avenue. Three others were arrested after a 4 p.m. shooting into a Congress Street house. No one was hurt in that incident.

Before that, one man was wounded March 24 and two cars damaged in a shooting reported at Albany Street and Brandywine Avenue. On March 6, another man was shot in the leg near 20 Catherine St.

On Feb. 28, Robert J. Daniels, 34, of Guilderland Avenue, was shot once in the arm as he drove near the intersection of Morris and Eastern. The shooting sparked an intensive manhunt that went into Niskayuna. No arrests were made.

In all the recent cases, police have reported no cooperation from the victims or suspects, regarding identities or motives.

Police haven’t made connections among recent incidents, Kilcullen said, but such shootings are often retaliation for prior slights.

AMNESTY EFFORT

The latest shootings came as police and local clergy announced a two-month gun amnesty program, aimed at getting more guns off the street.

In exchange for turning them in, authorities would not charge individuals with possessing the weapons.

The program officially began Tuesday and is to run until May 31.

Officials, however, have had only one person come forward, a city woman who turned in seven weapons, Kilcullen said.

The woman’s husband legally possessed the guns, four handguns and three rifles, but he recently died.

“This is exactly the kind of thing we’re targeting,” Kilcullen said. “If the home had been burglarized and the guns weren’t secure, we would have seven more guns on the street.”

Under the amnesty program, immunity will be granted for possessing the weapons, but not for other crimes that might have been committed with the weapon. Police are asking for photo ID and help in documenting the weapon’s past. Officials, however, said they would work with the goal of getting the weapon out of circulation.

Weapons can be surrendered by contacting the Schenectady Police Office of Field Intelligence at 788-6566, which is a dedicated line for the duration of the program. The dispatch center can also be contacted at 382-5263 or clergy members can be called. Officials want contact to be made first — weapons should not be brought without first making arrangements.

Categories: Schenectady County

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