Savannah mayor, police chief unveil new regional violent crime task force

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — After a mass shooting in Savannah that killed two people, Mayor Van Johnson says it’s time for an all-out effort to stop violence.

Alongside Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter Tuesday, the mayor unveiled a new regional and collaborative violent crime task force.

Johnson said the task force will do the following:

  • Identify those committing violent crimes.
  • Share intelligence about those involved.
  • Interrupt and interfere in illegal activities.
  • Continue to build quality and solid cases that lead to indictments.

“We are determined, absolutely committed in one mind, not to let crime, particularly violent crime, be the narrative for our community,” Johnson said. “We believe that Savannah’s good is greater than Savannah’s evil.”

The task force will involve law enforcement, local government officials and neighboring counties to provide resources and collaborate to address and convict criminals.

Johnson is also calling on community members to come forward if they’re aware of someone committing a violent crime before it leads to other incidents. Last Friday, the city held the first in a series of summer gatherings to meet neighbors and their children.

“We want to chart a path forward,” said Johnson.

The police chief gave an update on the Avery Street case, saying over a dozen tips have been submitted since the mass shooting two weeks ago. He also said police now believe a shootout took place at the scene and that the red or dark-colored sedan may have been damaged in the incident.

Police continue to search for possible suspects and the vehicle, Minter said.

The Savannah Police Department is urging anyone with information to contact its crime tip line at 912-525-3124, its gang unit at 912-651-3189 or the anonymous tip line for CrimeStoppers at 912-234-2020. Detectives are following up on tips and officers continue to monitor Avery Street.

“We believe this case is solvable… I know they’re not getting a lot of sleep, but they remain committed to solving this case,” Minter said.

The chief also said two people were released after they were detained and questioned the following night on suspicion they were connected.

Local police chiefs and the sheriff already meet on a regular basis but Johnson says broadening the group may help solve some causes of crime.

“This is a regional approach to a national problem. Over this past weekend, we had more mass shootings across our country,” said Johnson. “We have to be able to do something different.”

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