HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington Mayor Steve Williams surrounded himself with representatives of various law enforcement agencies Tuesday afternoon in a news conference that was called after another murder happened in the city earlier in the day.
Huntington has now recorded 18 homicides this year. Williams said he wanted to use the “strong show of force” to send a message to Huntington residents.
“I really want to be able to show the public what they can be continuing to see moving forward in preventive measures to ensure the public that we are doing everything in our power to keep them safe,” Williams said.
The latest murder happened at just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday when Kafrederick Mceachin, 25, was killed near the Marathon station in the 1100 block of Hal Greer Boulevard. Officers arrested 30-year-old Antwon Starkey around 1:30 p.m.
There was another deadly shooting Monday morning and a non-fatal shooting Monday night.
Williams said there is “understandable angst” among Huntington residents.
“We’re all concerned and certainly our citizens deserve a safe place to live in,” he said.
Williams said residents are protected not only by Huntington police but also the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department, West Virginia State Police and Marshall University police. He said there are working relationships with the FBI, DEA, ATF and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“We’ll be looking forward to continue with those relationships and continuing to strengthen those relationships in the future,” Williams said.
Most of the city’s violence has to do with the drug epidemic, authorities have said. Huntington Police Capt. Hank Dial told some members of city council last week there had been 12 arrests in connection with 12 of the then 16 homicides. Dial also reported five people had been arrested in connection with 14 armed robberies.
Williams said Tuesday he wanted residents to know all law enforcement agencies are committed to making sure Huntington is safe. He also had a message for his own city’s police force.
“You’re stretched to the limit and my challenge to the command staff of HPD is for us to be identifying every way possible to make sure we have the resources to assure you have the resources to continue your world-class work,” Williams said.
There are 95 police officers in Huntington but only 89 are currently available because of injuries and military leave.