Blue icons indicate shootings that did strike a person; purple resulted in injuries, red in death.
More than half a dozen shootings in under a month have Kingston Mayor Steve Noble trying to calm fears and Police Chief Egidio Tinti looking for assistance from other agencies and especially city residents in stopping the spate of gun violence. Starting on June 26, police have responded to eight separate shooting incidents, which have resulted in one dead, three injured, and several vehicles and buildings damaged by bullets. The two most recent incidents were just yesterday.
“Can you hear the frustration in my voice?” asked Chief Tinti this morning. “I am frustrated.”
Asked about the trend in gun crime, he said, “There is certainly no doubt there has been an increase in the last few years.” He attributes it to the larger factors that are “all over” the country right now: an economy crushed by a pandemic that can best be managed by avoiding most social contact, racial tensions ratcheted up by reports of police shootings and inflamed by political leaders, all leading to “civil unrest.” The phrase “perfect storm,” used by Mayor Steve Noble in a statement released yesterday, resonates with the chief. “I think that’s the correct phrase,” he said.
Calling the increased violence “unprecedented and scary,” Noble said that he is “committed to restoring peace” to Kingston. That includes more sheriff’s deputies in the city, with state troopers also promised to bolster the presence of law enforcement.
Tinti believes the additional uniformed officers will send two important messages. The first is aimed at residents generally. Tinti wants the people of Kingston to “understand that there is some relief” being provided from this dangerous situation. As for people who have or are contemplating putting a gun to nefarious purpose, “they will be arrested.”
Arrests have been made in connection with the June 26 incident, in which an 18-year-old man was shot in the leg. Officers apprehended Kingston residents Darren Miles and Tristyn Zeko later the same day, and recovered the weapon believed to have been used in that shooting, along with another. Both were charged for criminally possessing a weapon, and Miles was also hit with first-degree assault.
The victim in that case was “uncooperative,” according to the statement released by police, and that speaks to Tinti’s frustration. In short, it’s hard to get anyone to talk to the police right now. “We are left to investigate without public input and interaction. At times we have gone in to help, and residents don’t want us there.” With an audible exhalation, he said, “I understand there is a tremendous change in how people view law enforcement, but our officers are there to help. I need the community to understand that we can’t do it on our own. We need their help. Does this sound like I’m pleading? It’s a plea. There are times when detectives knock on a door, and people say, ‘go away.’ It makes it a little more difficult. Some will say don’t trust cops, but we are the mechanism solving these crimes. We need their help.”
In his statement, Mayor Noble said that “we as a community can come together to end this violence. In order to move forward, we must hold each other accountable.”
For those who want to assist the police in their work but would rather keep their name out of it, the department’s anonymous tip line is 331-4499.