BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – The Thursday night killing of Malique Medley marks the fourth instance of gun violence in the Beckley area in two weeks.
It also marks the second shooting death in just four days.
59News spoke to folks in the East Park area of Beckley about the sudden rise in gun violence, and they said they are worried about the safety of their families.
April Kirk, a mother of two, said she is worried about her kids’ safety.
“You never know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if you’re safe. I worry about my kids being outside now because of the gun violence,” Kirk told 59News.
Kirk’s oldest child was a classmate of 17 year-old Karhlyle Hopkins. Karhlyle was shot and killed Tuesday night near Carriage Drive according to his father Garrick Hopkins.
Detective Michael Deems with the Beckley Police says he does not believe the recent shootings are indicative of a growing gun violence problem in the city.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s more of an issue,” said Deems. “I think it’s always existed, but we haven’t necessarily seen an uptick as far as normal years.”
But Kirk disagreed. She says throughout her whole life in Beckley, and eight years in the East Park neighborhood, she’s never felt more worried about the threat of gun violence.
“I don’t feel like it’s safe for my kids to be out at night,” said Kirk. “I don’t even feel like they’re safe half the time during the day to come out and play.”
Detective Deems says there is currently no evidence linking any of these shooting incidents together, but they are not ruling a connection out as they continue to investigate.