MPD: ‘Disturbing’ group of shots fired calls hit west side
Madison police describe officers responding to almost 30 shots fired calls since around the beginning of the year part of a “disturbing” crime cluster mostly on the city’s west side.
“There are a number of these incidents over the last few months that we’ve recognized as not necessarily a connected pattern. But certainly a prevalence of them, that’s quite disturbing,” Madison police officer Dave Dexheimer said. “The danger to someone being struck by stray bullets, or even intended bullets, is pretty high.”
Madison police department officials said they became more concerned about the issue after six of the 26 total calls happened over the last six days.
The latest 911 call come shortly before midnight from the Griffin house off Tawnee Drive.
“My husband heard a couple gun shots not far from here, and he immediately called 911. We found out they did find some shell casings right up here,” Melissa Griffin said. “It happened about five houses down from us.”
“I heard pop. Bang. And then it echoed across the whole street twice, and I waited a few seconds in my bed to process what I heard,” Matthew Griffin said. “I was like, ‘Wait a second.’ I jumped out of my bed. Went over to my dad. He was lying on the ground. And he told me to get down. And he was calling 911 already.”
Police still do not know if the shell casings this Meadowood shots fired call left behind are related to the same thing happening just about two hours before on nearby Golden Oak Lane. In all 26 cases, MPD officials said they are frustrated that potential victims might not be calling for help.
“That may be an element of the pattern, if it’s a retaliatory issue,” Dexheimer said. “That perhaps not coming forward to the police will allow somebody to have the cover to retaliate. And we’re really concerned about that cycle of back and forth shootings.”
Retaliation concerns have been very real for Madison police since a rash of shootings in late December. In January, as the crime log began to build, the head of Madison’s gang unit said many of the shootings were likely gang related.
“The act itself may not be an act for the gang. But that person likely is a member of a gang or associates with members of gangs,” the head of MPD gang unit, Sgt. Brian Chaney, said in February.
On Friday, police fears were narrowly avoided when a driver on Park Street fired shots at another car. The bullet shattered the two front windows of a woman’s car while she was driving.
“We’re very, very fortunate that because of some act between some people with guns that an innocent person wasn’t seriously injured or worse,” Dexheimer said.
Police ask if you find a shell casing call for help, but do not to touch the evidence.
Dexheimer said MPD plans to have more officers on duty in an attempt to crack down on shots fired calls on the southwest side next week.