BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS)–During the last few months, gun violence seemed to happen almost every other week in one Mercer County city.
Gun violence wreaked havoc on the City of Bluefield during the spring and summertime months.
In March 2022 on Cumberland Road, suspects Isis Wallace and Nichole Brooks allegedly murdered 13-year-old Maryze Tatum in a drive-by shooting linked to previous incidents.
In May 2022, on College Avenue, a seven-year-old and sixteen-year-old faced gunshot injuries from another alleged drive-by shooting. At least four guns were used during the commission of this crime.
Detective Kenneth Adams with the Bluefield Police Department talked about why this happens during these months.
“People are cooped up all winter. Springtime rolls around, people get out, interact with more people that they don’t normally interact with which always sees a jump in the crime that we have,” Adams said.
It is taking a toll on the community.
Senior Pastor Timothy Schofield at the Greater Mount Zion Pentecostal Church said he’s heartbroken at the amount of crime happening.
“It’s sad and it’s very unfortunate that violence is increasing not only in Bluefield but across the United States,” Schofield said.
Schofield said he believes it’s the church’s responsibility to be involved with things happening in the community. He’s brought about different initiatives to help bridge connections between police and the community.
One event back in May of 2022 was a first responder luncheon in which first responders and the community gathered together over lunch to talk about problems in the Bluefield area.
“What we’re trying to do is create a better communications and a better rapport so we can get a better understanding of them and they have a better understanding of us and so we can work together to lower the crime rate in the Bluefield area,” Schofield said.
In September, the church also invited the Bluefield Police Department to visit the church and speak with the children and teens about being safe in their neighborhood and how to avoid gangs, guns, and street crime.
Detective Adams also believes it will take the community and mentors to help teach the youth early.
“There needs to be people dealing with the youth out there explain to them this is not the road you want to take in life. Helping them become a better person in society and not having this street gang mentality that they want to go out and just shoot at someone,” Adams said.