By Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said this week that a number of recent homicides in the city have followed a “pattern” and that lives could be saved if residents peacefully resolve conflicts.
There’s a pattern with many of the tragedies our city has seen in recent weeks.
These weren’t random occurrences on our streets. These all happened in a private vehicles or residences:
— Randall Woodfin (@randallwoodfin) December 26, 2022
In a series of tweets, the mayor cited six “tragedies” between Dec. 18 and 26 which all occurred in residences or vehicles which weren’t random occurrences on our streets, he wrote. “These all happened in a private vehicles or residences:
12/18 – victim was riding in car with suspect(s)
12/18 – victim was in car at apartment complex
12/20 – victim visiting friends inside apartment unit
12/22 – victim in car in driveway
12/ – victim & suspect family members at family home
12/26 – victim in apartment complex”
The specific incidents Woodfin referred to were the homicides of Reginal Emanuel Duke Jr., 18, Dec. 18; Charles Anthony Smith, 33, Dec. 18; DeAnthony Dewayne Samuels, 21, Dec. 20; Shundra Denise McCray Vines, 43, Dec. 22; Orlando Dewaun Ruffin, 37, Dec. 22 and Charles Edward Smith, 25, Dec. 26.
Ruffin’s death, on Thursday, marked the 142nd murder of the year in Birmingham, breaking the recent record of 141 in 1991, according to AL.com.
In the tweets, Woodfin emphasized that, as he and law enforcement officials have said previously, homicides resulting from personal conflicts can’t be stopped by police.
“I’ve said before that we can’t police our way out of all violent crime in our city. That’s especially true regarding crime on private property behind closed doors. Before violence escalates in your home or with a friend or person you know, please, attempt to calm the situation.
If you can’t, walk away and seek help. Confrontation breeds tragedy. Before things go too far, de-escalate the situation. Your life, and the lives of those you love, are worth it.”
Just hours after the mayor’s tweets, around 7:30 p.m. Monday, another person was killed in a vehicle Kamarian Morris, 18, was shot while riding with a juvenile when someone opened fire on the car.
Morris’ murder was the seventh over the course of eight days and the 144th of the year, according to AL.com.
Updated on 12/28/2022 at 2:01 p.m. to correct the name of the person who was the 142nd homicide of the year.