HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Mayor Steve Williams believes a turf war between drug organizations is behind recent shooting deaths there.
“Don’t think for a minute that we don’t know who is causing harm,” Williams said Thursday during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” just hours after the third murder in the city this week, the 19th confirmed homicide this year. “We know who they are and where they are and we are going to come in and lock them away for years to come.”
The Thursday morning shooting death occurred at a residence on 25th Street. Eleven of the 19 homicides this year are tied to drugs, Williams said.
“This is a result of the drug trade in our community. This is unacceptable and we want residents to know we are not acting alone,” Williams said.
Authorities have been fearful a recent change in the drug trade with escalate things. Williams said it’s no longer heroin that is causing most of the problems but meth and crack cocaine have made comebacks along with drugs that are laced with other products.
“It creates some bit of craziness and aggressive drug dealers with it,” he said.
Williams said he had already had three conversations with law enforcement officials about assistance by mid-morning Thursday, including the state police.
“They are providing additional troopers to come in and assist us in our patrols throughout the city,” Williams said.
Williams remains confident the city can get a handle on the situation.
“We’ve received tips and overwhelming detail from the community. We have city, county, state resources and federal support. An overwhelming show of force that is coming into the city. We will bring our city back to the level of safety that we are accustomed to,” Williams said.
Police believe the other murders in Huntington this year are connected to alcohol and domestic violence.