A witnesses' recanted statement is keeping Helena-West Helena Police from being able to file charges in an incident in which teens allegedly fired shots into of residents of Cleburne Street in Helena.
Ronnie and Chadria Mitchell presented the council with some information about their home being shot into while Mrs. Mitchell was preparing dinner. Mrs. Mitchell reported that she was on her way into the kitchen to cook dinner when some teenage boys fired shots shot into her dining room area. She was struck in the collarbone with a .22 caliber bullet.
Mrs. Mitchell reported that this was the second time such an incident had occurred. The first time shots were fired into her home bullets struck the kitchen wall and went through her refrigerator.
She explained that the first time there were no witnesses and no evidence or knowledge of who the shooter was. This incident however is different. According to Mrs. Mitchell, there were two eyewitnesses, one across the street at the church and another across the street from their home.
Mitchell reported that an eyewitness came forward with a statement posted on Facebook and even stated that they would provide the Helena-West Helena Police Department with information leading to the suspect or suspects involved. But according to Mitchell, Police Chief Uless Wallace had bad news regarding the investigation, telling her that the eyewitness that came forward recanted their statement and refused to get involved.
“I have been working diligently with the family on this and even asked other family members that go to the same church to see if they could get a video statement from this eyewitness which would not require them to be subpoenaed to court because I would have their testimony on tape,” reported Wallace.
Wallace stated that the eyewitness saw everything the night the incident occurred but, the next day after providing information on three suspects, they came to the police department and stated that they “didn't want to get involved.”
“I hate to tell this to this family, but I can't force someone to testify,” commented Wallace.
Wallace added that he hasn't made contact with a man that came forward with a statement detailing 3 dark subjects spotted at the scene but couldn't tell who the shooter was.
“The eyewitness that recanted their statement was the only one to see the shooter,” stressed Wallace.
Wallace reported that H-WHPD has been in contact with a higher source outside of their agency to see if the suspects in question can be charged with anything posted on their facebook, but the department is “stuck.”
“I still have nobody that will come forward and identify them,” added Wallace.
“I don't appreciate it. The only reason I don't want those children to die is because I have children of my own. If they have parents who have no regard for them, they grow up having no regard for my life or the lives of my children, I would rather see them go to jail for what they have and continue to do to me and mine,” commented Mitchell.
Page 2 of 2 - According to Mrs. Mitchell, these children were expelled from school for gang activity and yet go to the same after school suspension program on the same campus where they were kicked out. Mrs. Mitchell commented that postings on Facebook describe the preteens bragging about the actions taken against her home and even detail pictures of the preteens holding a sawed-off shot gun, and pistol.
Wallace continues to call on the community for help. Wallace reports that because of some brave citizens, a murderer has been taken off the streets in connection to the Michael Washington case.
“The problem is that many are afraid for their lives if they come forward with the information that could and often times lead to an arrest,” he said.
According to Wallace, efforts continue to create a safer community by the department and other entities in the community but states that community effort is just trickling in. “
We're calling out to anybody that might have any information on this case or others, to come forward and help protect the lives of this community,” added Wallace.
Wallace went onto say that a neighborhood watch program has been implemented and 22 people signed up but only one individual showed up for the meeting.
“I don't know if there is anything you can do,” Mitchell told the council when asked how the council could be of assistance.
Wallace stated that the police department is working and will continue to work these types of cases but without the involvement of the community, progress will take time.
What is ECOP?
E-COP (Every Citizen On Patrol,) is an organization that allows everyone to utilize his or her particular area of expertise to enhance the community. The goal of E-COP is to get citizens involved in crime prevention, community activities, as well as clean up and beautification. Citizens will anonymously report any criminal or suspicious activities, work together to bring in entertainment and activities, assist in cleaning up and beautifying areas in need.
E-COP is a multi faceted program designed to serve many purposes at the same time with minimum efforts from the participants. One of the primary functions is to stop crime in a community thus promoting growth.
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