Police in Bloomington-Normal say despite the recent string of fatal shootings, there are no signs of a larger trend.
According to data compiled by the Bloomington and Normal police departments, the number of incidents involving guns is down slightly this year.
Normal Police Chief Rich Bleichner said his department responded to 62 incidents which were reported as shots fired last year. Gunfire was confirmed in nine of those incidents. In those incidents, one person was killed (David Parks allegedly shot by Daniel Lyons), two others were shot, and another victim accidentally shot himself while cleaning his weapon.
Through the first half of 2018, NPD received 29 shots fired calls. Two people were shot and killed April 25 at Lancaster Heights. Another person was shot in a separate incident, and there were two other incidents in which gunshots were confirmed.
“We don’t want people to think things are completely off the rails because they are not,” Bleichner said. “We certainly have had some tragic situations over the last few months.”
Bleichner said he understands concerns the recent killings have caused, but he added the department has typically averaged fewer than 10 incidents of gunfire per year. He said many of the reports calls of gunfire actually turn out to be fireworks.
“When you have an event like (the April 25 double murder), tragedy is going to bring out questions and concerns from the public, which I would expect,” Bleichner said. “It’s certainly not something we see very frequently.”
Bloomington Police said they responded to 174 reports of gunfire last year; 24 of those were confirmed and seven people were shot, but there were no homicides.
Through the first half of 2018, BPD received 73 shots fired calls and eight of those were confirmed. That amounts to one-third of the number for all of 2017. However, 11 people were shot in those incidents and five died.
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