Sikeston DPS chief reaching out to community after violent start to 2022
SIKESTON, Mo. (KFVS) - After a violent start to 2022, Sikeston’s police chief said now is the time to talk about what’s really going on in his community, and how to stop it.
”They don’t want to snitch. They don’t want to say who’s doing what. And I understand that. I understand retaliation. I understand people are afraid,” said Chief James McMillan.
He wants you to know just how often you can hear the ring of gunfire in his community. It’s not the kind of attention any city would want, but he said residents have the right to know.
“Looking at the data from January, we were just shocked.”
There’s no way to sugarcoat the numbers Chief McMillen lays out for the first month of 2022.
A total of 28 calls of shots fired, beginning with New Year’s Day and stretching all the way to the end of January.
“This last few months it has increased dramatically,” he said.
On January 12, in the 400 Block of Clayton, someone opens fire on this house. The man sitting in this chair is shot in the back.
“He was playing video games in his bedroom. They reported multiple shots fired. Up to 15, 16 rounds that were fired,” he said.
“We’re still looking for the shooters involved with that incident and to-date have not made any arrests.”
“Oh my God. It’s scary. Me living on Brannam Street and hearing this.”
The fear is all too real for Laurie Mitchell, who started the group “Stop the Violence” following the 2019 shooting death of her son Marcus Dixon.
“Finding your own son in the middle of the street, that’s the most horrific thing to do,” she said.
Mitchell wants her community to work with police, to not be afraid to speak out. And she’s not alone.
“It is time. If the chief of police is calling attention to this many shots being fired in our city, we have to come together. We have to come together,” Lori Caldwell said.
She is part of the group “Police and Community Together” and said she had no idea it had gotten this bad.
“Just because you didn’t know like I didn’t know that all of this is going on, because it’s not in my community. But am I indirectly affected? Absolutely. We all are impacted by this,” she said.
Fellow PACT team member Stanley Perkins said honestly, he’s not shocked by all the gunfire.
“But, it’s a shame, you know. And it saddens my heart because the youth seems like, and it could be older people also. It seems like no one is taking regard for anyone else’s life,” Perkins said.
Chief McMillen said the shootings have not slowed down.
On February 2, police arrested a man in connection with what he calls a “gang-related shooting no one had to call in.”
“This is 3:15 in the afternoon on a school day. It’s about a block or two from DPS headquarters.”
McMillen said his community and others have experienced mass shooting events like the one that happened in Charleston.
Perkins said he used to run these streets. He believes the Charleston shooting shook people, possibly enough to start caring about what happens next.
“Even the youth are saying hey, something has to give. Something has to stop. They’re wanting to talk nowadays. Or find a way to get out of this thing,” he said.
McMillen hopes being this honest about what’s happening can lead to a positive change.
“I want to see citizens taking ownership of their streets,” he said. “Of their block. And helping us. Just point us in the right direction.
Chief McMillen is helping host a community meeting Tuesday, March 1 on the increase in violence, what residents can do to protect themselves and how they can join in the effort to stop it.
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