Summer off to a violent start in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – It all wrapped up early on Monday morning, when a body was found in an alley near East Lake Park.

Investigators received the call around 6 a.m.

“A citizen called to say that he located a body lying just beside the roadway,” Sgt. Johnny Williams said. “Our officers responded. They located a female she was deceased on the scene.”

This incident was just the latest in a long, violent weekend.

There were at least four other shooting and two other homicides over the weekend, including the death of 19-year-old Aaron Witt on the 2800 block of Wilson Road.

Witt’s body was found just after 12 a.m. on Sunday night.

Jeremy Edwards, a 26-year-old, was killed Saturday afternoon after an argument on Cotton Avenue.

Not long after, the search for the alleged shooter in the Cotton Avenue homicide stopped at a gas station in Hoover.

The body of Rayah Easterling was found behind the Kangaroo gas station on Lorna Road on Sunday afternoon.

Police say it’s an apparent suicide.

Hoover detectives say Easterling is the prime suspect in the Cotton Avenue shooting.

“It was an effort of putting information together from multiple sources,” Captain James Coker with the Hoover Police Department said.

All of the cases are still under investigation.

In less than two weeks, Birmingham police have worked 8 shootings….seven people have been killed. Over the last three days several people have been killed in separate violent incidents in the Birmingham area. The level of violence is taking its toll on investigators just like the loved ones of the victims.

The list of victims keeps growing:

Saturday afternoon- Cotton Avenue- 26 year old Jeremy Edwards was killed after an argument.

Sunday afternoon- Rayah Easterling’s body was found behind the Kangaroo gas station on Lorna Road in Hoover.

“Delivery truck driver had discovered a body behind the store,” said Capt. Jim Coker, Hoover Police Department. “In this case this was a suicide and not a homicide.”

“Further investigation through the night has revealed he is tied to a homicide in the City of Birmingham,” said Capt. Coker. “He is linked to the homicide that occurred on Cotton Avenue.”

Sunday 8:30 p.m. East Birmingham, Katie Lucas, 46 , of Birmingham, found inside her apartment.

Monday 12:19 a.m. Birmingham, 19 year old Aaron Whitt discovered in the 2800 Block of Wilson Road Southwest.

Monday, 5:50 a.m. Birmingham, victim found near the alley behind 216 83rd Street North. Name withheld pending notification of the family.

“Just before 6 a.m. a citizen called to say that he located a body lying just beside the roadway, our officers responded and located a female,” said Sgt. Johnny Williams, Birmingham Police Dept.

Monday afternoon, East Birmingham, male victim, found inside a home near 84th Street South. Name withheld.

“We’re referring to this as a shooting investigation at this point. I was inside the house a little while ago and the home itself is extremely neat and well organized, but we do have a gentleman who’s deceased toward the rear of the home. We’ve taken one resident into custody, a female,”  said Chief A. C. Roper, Birmingham Police Department.

This much violence- in this amount of time – is a lot to handle. That’s even true for veteran law enforcement officers.

“Well it’s extremely difficult to predict here in Birmingham from the standpoint is our violence is unlike any other in regards to we don’t have much random stranger violence. Ours is more acquaintance related,” said Chief A.C. Roper. “Although we realize the police department has only so much influence, we’re extremely concerned as a police department and as I look at my people I see the concern… so.”

Police are asking for help – in these cases- anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 254-7777 or Birmingham Homicide Detectives at 254-1764.

“Although we realize the police department has only so much influence, we’re extremely concerned as a police department and as I look at my people I see the concern…so.,” Chief A.C. Roper. “Well it’s extremely difficult to predict here in Birmingham from the standpoint is our violence is unlike any other in regards to we don’t have much random stranger violence. Ours is more acquaintance related.”

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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