Tyler police say drug and gang activity likely cause of recent shootings, including two fatal

Published on Friday, 11 August 2017 17:43 - Written by LOUANNA CAMPBELL, lcampbell@tylerpaper.com 

In the past five weeks, Tyler has seen nine separate shooting incidents, which police believe are related to gang and drug activity.

The most recent gunfire happened Friday morning, when a 22-year-old man was fatally shot at a home in the 1600 block of Lawrence Street. 

The majority of the incidents, including Friday’s, are clustered in a neighborhood loosely bounded by Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the north, Garden Valley Road to the southwest and Broadway Avenue to the east. 

Police have made arrests in four of the cases, putting three suspects behind bars. Two of these arrests were made within hours of the crimes being committed. Another suspect, who police believe to be connected to two of the shootings, was in custody within five days of the second incident he’s believed to have been involved with.

Friday’s shooting of Joshua Alon McGee, 22, of Tyler, remains under investigation and no suspects have been identified.

“Nine shootings in a month is an unusually high number of shootings in Tyler,” said Tyler Police Public Information Officer Don Martin. “It’s unfortunate that these things are happening, but we’ve worked very hard to make ... arrests in these cases.” 

Three of the shootings, including Friday’s, resulted in victims showing up at local emergency rooms with gunshot wounds. In the non-fatal cases, one victim was shot in the face and hand and another victim arrived with a leg wound.  

The other fatal shooting occurred July 26 when a 28-year-old man was shot across the street from a Tyler pool hall. An arrest was made in that case about 16 hours later. 

Martin said the investigations have been hampered in some cases by victims and witnesses who have been uncooperative. 

The department has increased patrols in the area where most of the shootings occurred, and is asking for the public’s help to report information on any of the cases.  

“We have restructured our patrol activities to concentrate our coverage in these areas where these unfortunate events have occurred,” Martin said.

He said residents may submit tips in these cases and remain anonymous. Crimestoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and charges filed against the suspects in these cases or any felony case.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Tyler Police Department, at 903-531-1000 or Crimestoppers at 903-597-CUFF. 

TWITTER: @LouAnnCampbell