WSPD solicits community’s help to solve string of senseless shootings

Fred Hawkins III and Jalen Cockerham fell victim to a senseless shooting on Saturday, May 18.

WSPD solicits community’s help to solve string of senseless shootings
May 30
00:55 2019

The Winston-Salem Police Department is calling on the community to help find the culprits behind a string of violent shootings in recent weeks that have led to multiple injuries and the deaths of Jalen Chavon Cockerham and Fred Douglas Hawkins III.

During a press conference last week, Chief Catrina Thompson gave details on three separate violent shootings that are believed to be connected. The first occurred around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 7.  The Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) received calls of a shooting in the downtown area near Nova Lounge on North Cherry Street. Upon arrival, officers found multiple victims suffering from gun shot wounds.

Thompson said they later determined that seven people had been shot during the incident, at least three different handguns were used, and nearly a dozen spent shell casings were collected from the scene. Two of the handguns were later recovered by the WSPD and one person was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Thompson said, “Thanks to the efforts of local medical providers, the victims in this incident all survived and are continuing to recover from their injuries.”

Six days later, on Saturday, April 13, shots rang out in the 2400 block of Ivy Avenue. Detectives later learned that while a children’s birthday party was being held, gunshots began to echo through Bloom Park. More than 50 spent shell casings were recovered from the scene and it was determined at least five firearms were discharged during the incident.

Despite the heavy exchange of gunfire during the second incident, no one was injured. Thompson noted two firearms have been recovered and a warrant has been issued for a person of interest in the case.

The third senseless shooting occurred around 11 p.m. on the night of Saturday, May 18. Officers were dispatched to the 4200 block of Cody Drive after receiving information that multiple people had been shot. It was later determined that a cookout was being held when gunfire erupted, sending nearly 100 people in a scurry to find safety.

Investigators on the scene determined at least six people were shot during the incident including 23-year-old Jalen Cockerham, who died on the scene. Twenty-six-year-old Fred Hawkins III, who was also shot during the incident, died less than 72 hours later.

According to Thompson four firearms were used and more than 80 spent shell casings were recovered from the scene.

“Detectives have worked virtually around the clock since this incident occurred on Saturday night. In the days that followed, detectives have seized five guns and made one arrest for possession of firearms by a convicted felon,” continued Thompson. “We believe the three events I just described took less than two minutes to occur. In those two minutes, at least 13 people were shot. Two of these people lost their lives.

“A minimum of 16 firearms were discharged and more than 140 shots were fired.”

The weapons used during these three incidents range from semiautomatic pistols and rifles to revolvers. Thompson said ballistic evidence gathered at the crime scenes and other evidence have led detectives to determine that some of the same individuals were involved in the trio of shootings.

“Detectives believe these events stem from an ongoing dispute between these individuals and a willingness to harm any bystanders present in an effort to harm one another,” continued Thompson. “Despite the expenditure of hundreds of investigative man-hours, detectives have found few witnesses or victims willing to cooperate with these investigations.”

Thompson said on the night of the incident on Cody Drive, an estimated 300 people were in the vicinity when shots rang out, but only two were willing to talk with investigators. She said, “Witnesses, victims and others have to be willing to come forward and sit down face-to-face with a detective to honestly provide first-hand eyewitness accounts of what occurred for these crimes to be solved successfully.

“The agency I command is willing to dedicate every resource we have to solving these investigations and of equal importance, to try to ensure that these events not continue to occur in Winston-Salem. We will work around the clock and will leave no stone unturned, but we cannot do it alone.”

Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neil, Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough, Jason Walsh with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Pastor Tembila Covington, President of the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, Rev. Alvin Carlisle, President of the Winston-Salem NAACP, and several other representatives from other local organizations urged those with information to come forward.

Sheriff Kimbrough, who was born and raised in Winston-Salem, said he is saddened by the incidents that have transpired in his hometown over the past few weeks. He said in order to solve this problem in our community, we must bring all our resources together to change the atmosphere.

“We have to bring all our efforts together to change this atmosphere that we have entered into because we are burying young diamonds way too soon and only we can stop that.”

Anyone with information on the murders of Jalen Cockerham, Fred Hawkins or any of the investigations detailed above are asked to contact the Winston-Salem Police Department at 336-773-7700 or CrimeStoppers at 336-727-2800. CrimeStoppers may also be contacted via “Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem” on Facebook. A reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the Cody Drive shooting.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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