After a recent spree of gun violence in the Quad Cities, Local 4 News took a closer look at how many shootings and shots fired incidents there have been in the metropolitan area so far this year.
Combined there have already been dozens from the first of the year to April 1.
- 33 shots fired
- 4 shootings
- 11 shots fired
- 3 shootings
- 1 shooting
- 1 shots fired
Bettendorf has not had any incidents reported this year to date.
Local 4 News has reached out to East Moline for their numbers and we are waiting on that report.
On Thursday afternoon, 19-year-old Leon Simpson says he grew up in the area and isn’t surprised by the current totals because he’s seen the violence in first-hand throughout his life.
Simpson says he’s stayed out of trouble by joining Beyond the Baseline in Davenport, a program that promotes positive activities for at-risk kids in the area.
But Simpson says he wishes he could say the same for his younger brother, who could be looking at 25 years in prison for armed robbery at just 17 years old.
“Our cousin died, his new is Lewis and he died and my brother- he was like a straight 4.0 student and then he just changed like the next day,” said Simpson.
He says his brother went from good grades to committing armed robberies, the most recent incident happened just a few weeks ago.
“They were going to give him 25 years for that and I don’t think that’s what no kid wants to do,” he said.
But he says his brother is just one of many teens in the area headed down the wrong path.
“For a few years now in Davenport a lot of kids have just been getting ahold of guns and doing whatever they want to do,” said Simpson.
Nick McFarlin works at Beyond the Baseline and says the crime is just a piece of a much bigger picture.
“Some of the kids…they either get out or they feel like it’s a slap on the wrist or they dont feel the incentive to do the right thing,” he said.
Which is why he says if the community wants to see change they need to work together.
“It’s easy to say ‘Man that’s the police’s fault, or that’s their responsibility to help. Man, that should be the parents, man the teachers have lost control or the school district,'” said McFarlin. “It’s very, very easy especially if you’re not in the middle of it all. Once you really see the reality of it all there’s no sense in pointing fingers. Any one person can make a little bit of a change every single day.”
Now most days Simpson says he wonders if the next time he sees his brother could be the last.
“I know my mom is scared that if maybe he goes out and starts shooting at somebody he could probably not make it back home or if he goes to prison she’s not going to know what to do,” he said.
Which is why he hopes people will start to think twice before they make a decision that could ruin their life.
“Because once you go to prison for life there’s no getting out,” said Simpson.