BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Around a dozen people at the regular meeting of Beckley Common Council on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, said they were scared by increased gun violence in the city.
Malique Medley, 30, of Beckley, was reportedly shot 32 times inside a vehicle on Thursday, April 20, 2023, while his wife was allegedly driving the car in East Park, according to police.
Just two days later, Beckley Police Department detectives reported on Saturday, April 22, 2023, passengers inside of two cars fired gunshots at one another on Sheridan Avenue at Seventh Street, striking passengers in one of the vehicles.
LaShawn Deondre Shelton, 26, died on April 25, 2023, due to injuries sustained during the shooting. A second victim was in critical condition at a Charleston hospital.
The deadly East Park shootings followed the murder of a 17-year-old boy from Beckley, whose body was found just outside city limits on Carriage Drive on Tuesday, April 18, 2023. The victim died of a single bullet wound, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office detectives reported.
Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold said on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, that the shootings are a result of youth in the city being influenced by the wrong people.
“Instead of people whom we all respect, the ministers, the youth counselors, the teachers who teach them in school, they were influenced by somebody who had the power to bring them into some of this very nefarious and dangerous activity,” said Rappold, adding he is disturbed when youngsters who have access to firearms and vehicles make decisions to kill one another on public streets.
Mayor Rappold said he has spoken with city religious and recreational leaders about possible intervention initiatives and that the city, county and some federal agencies have increased patrol in the wake of the shootings.