ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Efforts to address gun violence in Albany are continuing after multiple shootings, including two that were fatal, were reported this weekend.
According to police, a 24-year-old was shot around 7:30 Sunday night in the area of Central Avenue and Robin Street. The victim, who has not been identified, died at Albany Medical Center. Police have not yet arrested anyone in connection to the shooting.
It came just two days after an 18-year-old was killed in a shooting on Hamilton Street Friday. Police say the victim, William Sanders, was shot in the torso multiple times. He died at the scene. The suspect, 20-year-old Brian Moses, was taken into custody after hiding in the basement of a home. He’s charged with second degree murder and is being held in jail.
“It appears, especially with the most recent one, that these individuals knew each other,” Chief Eric Hawkins said Monday. “We still have not established that with the homicide on Hamilton, but there is some evidence that, potentially, there was some familiarity with the suspect and victim in that one as well. We just have to figure out what the links are.”
Police also responded to a shooting around 6 A.M. Monday on Alexander Street. According to Public Information Officer Steve Smith, a 28-year-old male sustained non-life threatening injuries. It was described as an isolated shooting incident that was domestic in nature.
Hawkins said the rise in gun violence is not just an Albany problem, but a nationwide one.
“We are going through a gun violence crisis right now,” Hawkins said.
Friday’s homicide prompted City Council Member Owusu Anane to call for Hawkins to be replaced, but the chief said that’s not happening. He has the support of Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
“Finger pointing and the blame game are distractions, and once we start engaging in those, we engage a defeatist attitude,” Hawkins said in response to Anane’s criticism.
In the entirety of 2021, 72 people were shot in Albany. By September 22, 2022, the number already reached 74. There was also a 36% increase in the number of guns recovered, and an increase in gun arrests as well. Hawkins said as the department works on solutions, they’re also going through a period of change.
“We’ve got this whole mix of things. We’ve got police reform, we’ve got individuals who are creating these heinous acts who are being back out on the streets in a relatively short period of time, and in some cases, committing other acts of violence,” Hawkins said.
Annual shooting data shows increases in shots fired incidents and gun arrests in both Troy and Schenectady as well, when comparing 2021 to 2022.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who has been critical of New York’s bail reform laws, feels criminal justice reforms have “normalized” violence. He released a statement following the two homicides, and Monday morning’s shooting on Alexander Street:
“In just three short days, the City of Albany has seen two more shooting homicides. Two more young men, 18 and 24 years old, were gunned down in a city where death is now accepted as routine. Just this morning, another person was shot in the neck. Our state Legislature and executive branch can act in times of crisis, but only does so selectively. They demonstrated this by returning to the Capitol and enacting swift change following the racist mass shooting in Buffalo. Black Lives mattered then, so why don’t they seem to matter now? Two shootings that could qualify as mass shooting events took place in Albany in August, both with Raise the Age implications. No legislative action was taken. For the third year in a row, Albany’s homicide count is in the double digits, with about three months left in the year. No meaningful legislative action has been taken to address Bail Reform, and Raise the Age, which have demonstrably impacted violent crime in our most vulnerable neighborhoods. At what number will the body count be enough to prompt action?”Albany County District Attorney David Soares