Acting Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad expressed concern over increased violence in the Queen City as police search for a suspect tied to a shooting over the weekend.
The shooting happened at 2:45 a.m. in Burlington’s City Hall Park. Surveillance footage captured two men fighting at the southeast entrance to Burlington’s City Hall Park. It resulted in a man firing a gun and striking an uninvolved, innocent bystander. He was not seriously injured.
“Public safety is a shared responsibility, and we are hopeful that people see this video, if people were at the scene, if people know who this person was, they’ll make us aware,” said Murad.
He says the individuals did not know each prior to the altercation. He adds, the department is concerned with the recent rise in gun violence.
“From 2012 through 2019, our annual average of gunfire incidents was two,” Murad said.
In 2020, BPD counted a dozen incidents. So far year, there have been six. However, Murad says there are ways to curb gun crime in the city.
“It isn’t just police work. It’s about talking to communities in which gunfire is most likely to occur. It’s indicative of the fact that those individuals are not being identified, not being held to account, and not experiencing a social opprobrium not to do what they’re doing,” said Murad.
Murad classifies this incident as a shooting because someone was struck. Otherwise, these cases are considered gunfire incidents. Of the six reported incidents, two have been shootings.
“I’d really like to stress that, no matter how many gunfire incidents happen in the city, it’s an incredibly tiny proportion of people who actually are willing to pull a trigger while pointing a fire arm at another human being. It’s a small number of people,” he said.
Four midnight-shift officers responded to the scene. Murad says less serious calls had to be “stacked” in response to staffing shortages and call volume.