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Birmingham Mayor Woodfin Calls on Public to Help Bring Killers to Justice

Mayor Randall Woodfin called on residents to help police solve shooting cases. (Barnett Wright, The Birmingham Times)

By Barnett Wright | The Birmingham Times

Saying he had sympathy for the victims of recent homicides and shootings – including a 62-year-old man in a wheelchair killed on Tuesday and two children injured in gun shootings on Mother’s Day – Mayor Randall Woodfin called on residents to help police solve the cases.

“My heart and thoughts are with these victims, but especially our children and seniors, and I need the public to help us take shooters and killers off the street who harm our most vulnerable community members, which are our children and our seniors,” said Woodfin, during a Wednesday morning press conference at City Hall.

“That is my direct plea to the public, that we need your assistance. If you need safe harbor or help in sharing that information, let us know so we can give it to you.”

The mayor opened and closed his 45-minute press conference expressing frustration at witnesses who refuse to cooperate with the Birmingham Police Department. He also took issue with community residents who are providing “safe harbor” for those involved in crimes.

“There are no secrets in Birmingham where people know, have facts, have evidence, have information, know who, know what, know when, know how, know the shooter, know the driver, know the type of car. They have the information,’’ he said.

He added, “I want to talk about people in this community who literally give safe harbor to people who shoot and/or kill children and seniors. In three instances, people have taken the opportunity to shoot an 11-year-old, a 9-year-old, who survived, and shoot and kill a 62-year-old man. There is no one in this community who should be giving [shooters], or providing them, safe harbor.”

He called on “the village” — community residents — to step up and said there would be assistance for people who fear retaliation for testifying against shooters.

“We are supposed to, as in the village, do everything to take care of our children and our elders, our seniors,” he said.

The mayor pointed to a partnership with Crimestoppers that contains a fund of $80,000 for witnesses, or those with information to come forward, but said he “shouldn’t have to dangle money” for the public to do the right thing.

However, he added, steps were needed “by any means necessary to get factual information for people to come forward . . . who have information [about those] who have shot children in this city.”

On Tuesday, 62-year-old Michael Phillip Coleman who was confined to a wheelchair and suffering from ALS, died outside of his Woodlawn apartment. That came after two Mother’s Day shootings in Birmingham that left an 11-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl wounded.

The 9-year-old girl, was shot in Gate City Sunday when she was caught in crossfire while riding with her mother and is recovering at home.

Also Sunday, an 11-year-old boy and his father were shot on the city’s westside in what police say was a targeted attack. The boy is expected to recover.

Anyone with information about shootings or homicides in Birmingham can call Birmingham detectives at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.