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Mayor Woodfin’s Cousin Among 7 Killed in 24 Hours of Gun Violence in Birmingham

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Seven people have been killed in a deadly 24-hour string of gun violence in Birmingham. (FILE)

By Krystal Nurse | USA TODAY

Seven people have been killed in a deadly 24-hour string of gun violence in Birmingham.

Police announced the string of homicides that happened on Thursday and Friday that claimed the lives of seven people; one woman and six men. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin posted on Facebook Friday his family is one of seven mourning a loved one killed by gun violence. The mayor says his cousin was one of the victims.

“My family is no stranger to the devastating consequences of violence,” Woodfin wrote. “The pain never gets easier. This level of loss is distressing, unacceptable and cannot – must not – be tolerated.”

Police said in statements posted on their website no one has been arrested in any of the homicides. According to a Saturday release, police said Birmingham has had 14 murder investigations in 2024.

“But right now I’m not thinking about myself,” Woodfin wrote.” I’m thinking about that employee’s family who now has an empty chair at the dinner table. I’m thinking about my cousin’s mother. I’m thinking about the other four families who are facing the unimaginable right now.”

Police Chief Scott Thurmond said in a Saturday statement that all victims lost their lives to gun violence and one was a city employee who ended his shift.

“Our city has been rocked to its core by today’s events,” he wrote. “Our city and communities are hurting beyond belief.”

Police responded to a call for a decomposed body around 10:17 a.m. Thursday in the northeastern part of the city. First responders declared the man dead at the scene after finding him facedown in rubbish.

“The preliminary investigation suggests a citizen who collects items observed the victim unresponsive on the ground at an illegal dumping site and asked a resident to call 911,” police wrote in the release.

The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office said at the scene the man died of a gunshot wound.

Police didn’t identify the man as they work to notify his next of kin.

A ShotSpotter alert around 2:45 p.m. Friday in the northern section of the city prompted police to respond to a car wash lot. ShotSpotter is a controversial gunshot detection system that notifies police when its acoustic sensors and machine algorithms detect gunfire. It has been criticized as ineffective and racially biased.

They identified the men as Cortez Ray, 32; Talton Tate, 36; Terrell Edwards, 38; and Kevin McGhee, 38. All men are Black and from Birmingham. Police located the men unresponsive on the ground with gunshot wounds. McGhee died at UAB Hospital.

“The preliminary investigation suggests the victims were at a neighborhood car wash when an unknown suspect(s) opened fire on them,” police said. “We believe one or more of the victims were targeted.”

A couple last seen leaving a residence on Valentine’s Day for a movie date were found dead Friday of gunshot wounds in the western part of the city.

Police identified the couple as Angeliyah Webster, a 20-year-old woman, and Christan Norris, a 20-year-old man, both of Birmingham. They were reported missing on Thursday.

The couple was found inside their white Ford Taurus with fatal gunshot wounds.

Police are offering a $5,000 cash reward for tips regarding the Friday homicides, separately.

Woodfin pleaded for people who have information to urgently call Birmingham’s CrimeStoppers at 205-254-7777.

“Justice cannot be achieved in the dark,” Woodfin wrote. “The families of these victims deserve answers and the cowards who have such a reckless disregard for life must pay for their actions.”

Contact reporter Krystal Nurse at knurse@USATODAY.com. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, @KrystalRNurse.