GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Law enforcement leaders and solicitors are teaming up and using technology to keep us all safer.
It’s new technology like a ballistic integration system and sharing names of repeat offenders that prosecutors on local and federal levels are hoping will make a difference. They’re working together to identify where illegal gunfire is happening, and more importantly, who is pulling the trigger.
U.S. Attorney Sherri Lyndon is making it a priority to tackle gun violence alongside local solicitors.
“Whether we are in state court or we are in federal court, we are all in together on these top offenders,” Lyndon said in a press conference on Thursday.
She said new data showed only a small portion of the community has been responsible for this type of crime.
“Eighty to 90 percent of violent crime is committed by about five to seven percent of offenders,” Lyndon said.
And solicitors in The Upstate are responsible for prosecuting many of them.
“In Greenville County alone, there are over 16,000 warrants brought to us by law enforcement every single year,” 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins said.
“They are absolute war zones. We’ve had shooting after shooting after shooting,” 8th Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo said.
Seventh Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette said he’s already seen how collaborating can solve crimes.
“We had a homicide and later on we had a shooting of another person who lived. They could ID the shooter took the shell casings from both cases and matched them up in both cases,” Barnette said.
The ballistic analysis system was able to put a man behind bars for life. His next priority will be upping the penalty for illegal weapons.
“If they keep breaking the law, they need to go to jail and that’s the bottom line,” Barnette said.
And U.S. Prosecutor Justin Holloway agreed.
“In 2019, our sentences are actually higher than in previous years,” Holloway said.
He said it proves they are dealing with repeat offenders. And solicitors have a strong message for those responsible.
“We can take the worst of the worst the baddest guys out there and extract them from our communities,” Wilkins said.
“And go to war with these individuals that are driving that violent crime in our communities,” Stumbo said.