By RUBY KEARCE, Poster courtesy of DFSPD
The DeFuniak Springs Police Department (DFSPD) is seeking information regarding a string of shootings that have occurred over the past year. DFSPD Chief James Hurley said that there have been six reported shootings during the past year, with one having been solved. Other arrests have been made in some cases but not directly for discharging a firearm.
Hurley said that police are running into a roadblock with victims and witnesses refusing to cooperate. But rounds going off in neighborhoods and apartment complexes raises the risk of innocent lives being lost, which is even more concerning.
Hurley believes that the shootings are all connected via a group of young individuals using firearms to intimidate others. Hurley said that gang activity has also been reported leading police to believe that a group is attempting to organize within DeFuniak Springs. The group has an age range of 15 to 25 years old, with some of the individuals identified as having been raised in DeFuniak Springs. The shootings appear to be related to narcotics, and Hurley said that investigation has found ties to both Crestview and Chipley.
“If we are going to be a community, we must look out for the community,” said Hurley. “So, if you see something, say something.” Crime Stoppers is an option for individuals who would like to stay completely anonymous. Citizens can call (850) 863-TIPS (8477) with information, and if a tip leads to a resolution of the case, callers could be eligible for an award up to $3,000. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives have been contacted for assistance in this case, and the owners of a local apartment complex have agreed to make some security updates.