Longview looks for answers after sixth shooting death

Police identified the Longview man fatally shot Tuesday in the sixth fatal shooting this year in Longview.

Da’Coreyan Blankenship, 21, was the latest in a string of homicides since January.

“Every time you hear this or see this, you cringe,” Longview Mayor Jay Dean said. “We have really got to look at exactly what we are doing to curb this violence.”

The year started with violence when Philander Carlton Peters, 48, was killed Jan. 13 at a house in the 1600 block of Hawthorne Street. There is no suspect, and the case is still under investigation.

Three days later Omar Hernandez, 22, was shot dead at a house in the 500 block of Jones Street. Jose Zamarripa has been named a suspect, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The third incident came Jan. 28, when Garrett “G” Neal was found dead in his home in the 1700 block of Sandlin Street. The shooting remains under investigation.

On Feb. 11, Patrick McWhinney, 44, and LaDonna McWhinney, 41, died in an apparent murder-suicide in the 1900 block of Blueridge Parkway.

LaDonna McWhinney was shot in the arm and torso, the latter of which punctured her lung and spine, and Patrick McWhinney was shot in the head.

Jerrad Hunt died at Good Shepherd Medical Center on Feb. 23 after a Feb. 3 shooting outside a convenience store in the 3100 block of Estes Parkway.

Christian Earl Sibley was arrested on an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge stemming from the incident. He was released Monday on bonds totaling $35,000.

“I plan to call a meeting with the city manager and the chief of police to really take a look at every one of these homicides and try to figure out what’s the pattern. Is it drug related? What is that we are going to have to do as a public safety and policing department to come up with a game plan to be in front of this,” Dean said.

Blankenship, a 2011 Longview High School graduate, played football and was on the power lifting team in school.

An autopsy has been ordered with the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas.

The preliminary report ruled the death a homicide; it was completed by Elizabeth Ventura.

“My opinion is this is enough. It is time to come up with a very proactive. I know there have been members of the community that have done things on their own, kind of reaching out,” Dean said. “No deference to our police department. I know they are working hard. But what we are doing right now just isn’t working. We have got to get a much clearer message out to the public and a much clearer strategy.”

District 3 Councilwoman Kasha Williams said she had spoken to the mayor, city manager, police chief and assistant police chief during the last several weeks.

About half of the homicide cases, which do not include a fatal, police-involved shooting at the Longview Police Department in January, have occurred in Williams District.

“I am hearing from our citizens that we need to do something about this crime trend,” she said.

Williams said rebuilding trust was important.

“I think it is obvious at this time, we are going to have to be even more vigilant in stepping up our police patrol,” she said. “We are going to have to do a better job of establishing solid relationships between the residents and police, for building trust. … So that citizens can confidently come forward, before, to preempt a crime from happening or provide information that is needed following a crime.”

Police spokeswoman Kristie Brian said the shooting did not appear to be gang related despite its location.

The victim was found in front of a fence that was tagged with rival gang signs.

“It is coincidence basically. … It has nothing to do with that,” she said.

Blankenship was found a little after 7:40 p.m. Tuesday in the 800 block of Aurel Avenue.

source: http://www.news-journal.com/news/police/longview-looks-for-answers-after-sixth-shooting-death/article_0cd482bc-a570-5e38-9fee-855ff7870912.html