CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin is pressing for changes within West Virginia’s judicial system following recent violent crime in West Virginia’s capital city, including a fatal shooting on Friday.
Goodwin spoke to MetroNews hours after Charleston police officers began investigating an incident in the 1400 block of Frame Street. Goodwin offered her appreciation for Charleston police officers for addressing crime and placed blame on judges, prosecutors and the criminal justice system for allowing repeat offenders “back out onto the streets.”
“I’m sick of this, and so is every member of our community. I’m tired of it, and this continues to happen time and time again,” she said.
According to the Charleston Police Department, Shavan Vondell Collins, 35, had a verbal altercation with 34-year-old Dontaze Mosley in the front yard of a home. Collins allegedly shot Mosley in the chest before fleeing on foot. Mosley was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The fatal shooting followed an accidental shooting on Russell Street; the person is in stable condition after being shot in the leg. City officials had to place Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School and West Side Middle School on lockdown following the incidents.
“It’s insanity, it’s maddening,” Goodwin said. “It has to stop.”
Goodwin contended city leaders — noting her administration, the Charleston City Council, law enforcement officials and community leaders — have focused on reducing crime with actions like removing dilapidated structures and funding youth programs. The issue, Goodwin said, is the judicial system’s handling of suspects.
“If that piece doesn’t change, we’re going to be talking about this again next week, next month, next year,” she said.
Goodwin and Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt did not provide information regarding if violent crime is increasing in Charleston. Hunt stated officers are solving 90% of the city’s reported crimes, but “the success comes through others’ misfortune.”
“More than 50% of the suspects in our homicides and violent crimes are folks that are out on parole, who have rap sheets as long as your arm with violent crimes, who have multiple bonds stacked against them,” he told MetroNews. “These are the same people that clearly have a propensity toward committing violence towards others, that are reintroduced into the streets of Charleston over and over again that are causing the problems that we’re investigating today.”
Hunt continued, “If they are deadset on committing a crime, the best thing we have to do if we can’t catch them in the act or prevent it is to just arrest them after the fact and hold them accountable in the court system. The problem we’re running into is we keep seeing them over and over again. It’s becoming very cyclical.”
The Charleston Police Department did not return MetroNews’ inquiry regarding additional information about Collins.
Collins is wanted for second-degree murder for Mosley’s death. Anyone with information should contact the Charleston Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 304-348-6480 or Metro Communications at 304-348-8111.