116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS --- While gun violence has skyrocketed across the nation, the number of shootings in Cedar Rapids reported in the first half of 2021 is down roughly 22 percent compared with the same time period the year before.
According data from the Cedar Rapids Police Department, there have been 60 verified shots fired incidents so far in 2021, from Jan. 1 to June 30. During that same period in 2020, the city saw 77 incidents.
The decline comes on the heels of one of the city’s most violent years with a record high 163 shots fired incidents in 2020. There were 12 homicides — 10 due to gun violence — representing the highest number of killings recorded in a 12-month period in at least 60 years in the city.
Of this year’s 60 verified incidents so far, three resulted in the deaths of five people and seven resulted in the injuries of eight people. Another 28 incidents resulted in property damage.
Public safety spokesperson Greg Buelow said verified shots fired incidents are those in which a person was injured or killed, property was damaged, shell casings were found or that surveillance video or multiple witnesses corroborate. The numbers do not include suicides or accidental gun discharges, he said.
Breaking down the numbers
February recorded two shots-fired incidents, the lowest number of incidents recorded in any month since April 2016 — when three incidents were recorded — and the lowest number recorded during the month of February since 2019, when four incidents were reported.
May recorded the highest number of incidents with 15 shots-fired reports. January and June were close behind with 13 incidents each. Ten incidents were reported in March and seven in April.
Buelow said three of the January incidents can be traced to a single suspect — David S. Schneider, 41, of Cedar Rapids. Police said Schneider was suspected in three incidents — one on Jan. 8 and two on Jan. 13.
Iowa court records show he was charged with just one count of discharging a firearm. A criminal complaint states he “recklessly and needlessly discharged a handgun into the air.” Police said no injuries or property damage were reported. The other two incidents did not result in charges.
Buelow said there were several incidents in the past six months where firearms were discharged into the air or the ground as a “warning shot” to either “intimidate or break up a fight.”
“Warning shots are illegal and particularly dangerous,” he said, as they easily could result in “unintended injury or death.”
The data shows that at least 10 of the year’s incidents stemmed from or involved some sort of altercation. Additionally, six incidents were identified as having occurred in or near a bar, or the shots were fired at a bar.
In nine of the incidents listed in the data, arrests have been made or suspects have been identified. In six incidents, the data shows police received no cooperation from victims.
Three of the year’s shootings have resulted in deaths of five people.
Most recently, husband Jan Perry Jackson, 61, his wife, Melissa Ferne Jackson, 68, and their daughter, Sabrina Hana Jackson, 19, were shot to death June 15 in their home at 4414 Oak Leaf Court NE. The couple’s son, Alexander Jackson, 20, faces three counts of first-degree murder in the killing of his family.
Two additional people have died by gunfire so far this year.
Jayson Jones, 21, was shot Jan. 3 at a home at 818 11th Ave. SE. Jones was taken by a car to the hospital about 2:16 a.m. and pronounced dead a short time later. No arrests have been made. His death marked the city’s first homicide of 2021.
Davvion Flemings, 26, was found shot to death in the driveway of a home in the 1600 block of 32nd Street NE. Police said the shooting occurred just after 9:30 p.m. April 15. His case also remains unsolved.
In addition to the deaths, seven of the year’s shootings resulted in eight people being injured.
Police have not released any details about the victims, other than some basic demographic information. Five of the injured people are Black men, according to the data, and two are Black women. One is a white man.
Of those, Buelow said two are juveniles and three are between 15 and 24. The remaining three are adults.
Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman said the department is continuing to use a number of programs and assets, including the Police Community Action Team as well as grant-funded programs that include a violence reduction initiative in efforts to curb the violence.
Additionally Jerman said the department is tapping partnerships with local, state and federal resources — including the FBI Streets Task Force and the Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Integrated Ballistic Information Network — and working with federal prosecutors to hold those responsible for gun violence accountable.
The Cedar Rapids department acquired a NIBIN system in September 2020. It allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. Police are able to collect shell casings and use the technology to match the shell casings to a particular firearm.
Chief Jerman said Cedar Rapids is not the only city dealing with gun violence, adding that “shooting incidents are elevated across the country in mid-sized and large cities.” According to The Washington Post, gunfire killed more than 8,100 people in the United States between Jan. 1 and May 31 this year — about 54 lives lost per day on average.
“One shooting or one death is one too many,” Jerman said in a statement. “It is more important than ever for community involvement to cooperate with law enforcement and collectively work to eliminate violence in our city.”
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