Police Chief, local church leaders respond to violent weekend

Joseph Williams was shot and killed while riding this moped
Joseph Williams was shot and killed while riding this moped

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Wilmington teen, Joseph David Williams, 18, was killed in a shooting Saturday.  That was the first in a string of shooting incidents over the weekend.  Monday, Wilmington Police Chief, Ralph Evangelous, said the weekend violence could be gang-related.

He said he thinks the violence is due to the recent "void" of leadership left in gangs after several members were jailed.  Evangelous said it appears that members are now fighting for control of the gangs.

Evangelous said the issue is that the Wilmington Police Department is "pushing" the gangs, but the gangs are "pushing back".

"We will continue to incarcerate these people and we will continue to ask for high bail on them to keep them off the street and we will continue until this violence- this senseless violence, stops between these couple gangs that are out there," said Evangelous.

James Jamison, Hope Baptist Church Pastor, was one of the church leaders involved in starting the cease fire movement back in June.  Although multiple shootings have happened during the 90 day period, Jamison still feels the movement was a success.

"I was at one point wondering if it's something that we should continue to do, but at the end of the day, no matter how hopeless the situation looks, we can't give up hope," said Jamison.  "We can't stop trying.  We can't stop making an effort."

Jamison and other local church leaders will meet Friday at city hall to discuss what further steps should be taken to prevent violence in Wilmington.

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