Deadly Shootings Are Up This Year In Spartanburg

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — One South Carolina city is brainstorming solutions to curb gun violence as shooting deaths have reached a recent high.

Organizers in Spartanburg, South Carolina are putting on a citizen forum Saturday to discuss ideas and then present them to the city council.

At least six people in the city have already died this month in gun-related incidents. That brings total gun deaths to eight this year, The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports.

Those fatalities exceed the seven deaths counted in 2020, seven in 2019 and three in 2018, Police Maj. Art Littlejohn told the newspaper.

The Spartanburg Police Department has tallied 51 shootings through June 20, almost as many as the 55 reported over the course of the year prior.

Police Chief Alonzo Thompson told city council members that City Council Monday that the high number of shooting deaths “an anomaly," and urged residents to send tips to the department.

“I take this personally,” Thompson said. “I understand the frustration. I’m willing to accept responsibility for my actions. The responsibility will not rest entirely with the police or with me. But with every citizen in this city.”

Chris Jefferson, an organizer of the Saturday forum, said the event was planned prior to the recent deaths.

“This has been a spike lately and people tend to get emotional,” Jefferson said. “It’s the best time to engage. What better time to do it.”