WILMINGTON –– Although the Wilmington Police Department either cannot or will not confirm whether gang activity was a motivation behind a triple homicide on Kidder Street Apr. 3, vandals have given clues to the source of the crime.
The home at 710 Kidder St. is tagged with “EBK” in red spray paint, which may stand for “Every Body Killer,” according to individuals with an understanding of gang activity.
It’s not immediately clear when the tag appeared. Over the last four weeks, memorials have popped up at the site and some have since been removed.
Monday marks the one-month anniversary of the Kidder Street shooting, and the Wilmington Police Department has released no new information and has made no known arrests. Someone (or multiple individuals; WPD hasn’t yet disclosed or confirmed) murdered three young adults –– and shot four others in the early hours that Saturday. According to police reports, “a gunfight had erupted” during a house party at the property just after midnight.
A review of 911 recordings from the scene reveals terrified witnesses but no details about the shooter.
Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams addressed city council days after the shooting. He presented little to no new information and read from press releases the department had already shared, asking for the community’s patience. Mayor Bill Saffo disclosed the most poignant detail at the time: No witnesses were talking.
For weeks now the department has told reporters it would hold a press conference when new information came available. That has yet to happen. A spokesperson for the department told Port City Daily no one who attended the house party is cooperating with law enforcement.
“This community on Kidder Street –– a lot of them want it to be forgotten. They want it to be over with,” Lt. Leslie Irving said on a phone call Monday.
The police department has denied and sometimes ignored repeated questions on the number of potential suspects, shooters and witnesses who have come forward as well as the cause of the shooting and whether gang activity is suspected. Multiple victims appear on Facebook throwing up hand signs on their personal accounts.
A Friday morning request for comment on the status of the investigation from Chief Wiliams or the lieutenant assigned to the case went unanswered as of 1 p.m. Port City Daily will update the story if and when one becomes available.
“I think everyone is scratching their heads, and the people who hold the key to solving the violence are the people directly involved,” Wilmington city councilman Kevin Spears wrote to Port City Daily in an email Friday. “We can ask for humanity, sensitivity, and compassion to be used within our city but ultimately, the people involved have to decide that they want peace over violence.”
In a Jan. 19 presentation to city council, the police chief chalked up just four of the 22 murders in the city last year to gang activity. Eight were labeled as “drug or crime involved,” and five were unsolved at the time.
The department’s then-spokesperson, whose resignation became effective just days after the shooting, said the WPD does not use a standard definition of “gang related” from a federal agency, but instead defines the term itself as “related to a gang or in furtherance of gang activity.”
A council member also questioned the label at the time.
“Explain how you define ‘gang related.’ A lot of the shootings, it seems like, I’m hearing that they were gang related,” Spears said.
Williams explained solely because someone is a gang member, it does not mean shootings are automatically assigned as gang related. It could be a domestic incident, he explained.
“If I was involved in a shooting on duty, I would consider it a police shooting. If I was involved in a shooting when I’m off, that’s not a police shooting,” Williams explained as a metaphor.
Following the presentation, a WPD spokesperson told Port City Daily the chief was unavailable for an interview to discuss gang violence in Wilmington.
Police are accepting tips through 910-343-3609 or the Wilmington, NC PD app. Anonymous reporters can text information to 847411 (tip411) by including the keyword WPDNC.
“The bottom line is, no one is talking,” Irving said Monday. “No one’s talking.”
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