Cape police step up patrols in response to series of shootings

Cape Girardeau police are stepping up patrols in response to a series of shootings that have occurred over the past several days.

"We are aware of it, and we are on top of it," police chief Wes Blair said Wednesday.

He said thankfully no one was killed in the shootings.

Blair urged the public to report any suspicious activity. He said reports can be made to police anonymously.

Two shooting incidents were reported over the weekend, and another happened Tuesday, police Sgt. Joey Hann said.

The first two incidents occurred between the 400 block of South Ellis Street and the 1000 block of Jefferson Street, Hann said in a news release.

Hann wrote in a text Wednesday to the Southeast Missourian that it was reported to police that 40 shots were fired. Police found more than 20 shell casings in the 1000 block of Jefferson, he wrote.

The first shooting occurred at 10:56 p.m. "A few homes and vehicles were struck during this first shooting, resulting in minor property damage," he said in a news release.

According to Hann, the second shooting occurred a few hours later, at 1 a.m. Monday. A man was struck n the right ankle, Hann said.

On Tuesday at 10:44 p.m., police responded to a report of shots fired in the 2800 block of Whitener Street.

Officers found a 22-year-old man who had been shot multiple times. "This victim had been shot while backing his vehicle from a parking space at 2850 Whitener," Hann said in a release.

Police also discovered the victim's vehicle had been struck by gunfire. Police recovered shell casings from the scene, Hann said.

These shootings followed an incident in late April near a Cape Girardeau banquet hall.

The incident occurred around 12:30 a.m. on April 28 outside the River Valley Banquet Hall at 631 S. Sprigg St., according to police.

An after-prom party was being held at the banquet hall at the time of the incident. As many as 50 to 60 shots were fired outside the hall by at least three different individuals, police said.

Surprisingly, no one was reported injured, Hann said only days after that incident.

Over the past 30 days, police have received 33 reports of shots fired, according to Hann.

"The vast majority were anonymous callers who wouldn't offer their names and only heard something that they thought might be gun shots," Hann wrote in a text Wednesday to the Southeast Missourian.

Blair said some reports of gun shots actually turn out to be fireworks, particularly at this time of year.

The number of aggravated assaults involving firearms this year so far numbers 16, the police chief said. That is up over the five-year average for the same time period, which is 12, he said.

Hann said there is no evidence that the shootings were gang related.

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