ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS 10) — Albany Police released the names of the victims in both of Wednesday’s homicides.

 21-year- old Nyjawuan Thomas of Troy was shot on South Pearl Street near Morton Avenue and 23-year-old Eddie Richardson of Albany was shot on 2nd Avenue near Grandview Terrace on Wednesday. Both men died from their gunshot wounds. 

At today’s press conference, Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins said the recent violence has been drug-related, as well as a result of social media feuds and retaliation. 

“What we are seeing right now,” explained Chief Hawkins, “is a very small group of individuals who are responsible for a large percentage of the violence we are seeing in our community. “

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan stated that the coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone— especially young people who have been away from positive influences in their lives.

“We cannot pretend that we did not just go through four months where many elements of our criminal justice system shut down including our courts, and many elements of our social services system shut down, and our school systems shut down. That has an impact. That has an impact particularly for the most vulnerable people in our community.”

The mayor called on local leaders, churches, and other community-based organizations to join together to help put an end to this violence.

Already, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and New York State Police are working with Albany Police to help prevent more shootings. 

“The message needs to be sent,” said Mayor Sheehan. “We need to ensure that the guns are being removed from the hands of people who are using them in a very reactionary way.”

The mayor added that this violent behavior is unacceptable and anyone who has any information on the recent violence should contact Albany police.