LYNN — Lynn Police said gangs are responsible for four shootings that occurred last month.
There were two shootings on Harwood Street, one on Chatham Street and another at Silsbee and Broad streets, which police said are all related. None were fatal, according to Lynn Police Lt. Michael Kmiec.
Police said two gangs, which Kmiec declined to identify, are feuding, and some of the shootings are retaliatory, but not necessarily targeted. Authorities are trying to reach out to known gang members to calm down the violence.
“Over the past years, we have seen a huge decrease in gang activity across the city,” Kmiec said. “This recent uptick is alarming for us and unacceptable and something that’s at the forefront of our investigations.”
An investigation has revealed that the two homicides that occurred in August — a stabbing on Union Street and quadruple shooting at Warren Street Playground — are not related to the gang activity, Kmiec said. Three men have been arrested in connection with the Warren Street shooting, but a possible motive has not been shared by the Essex County District Attorney’s office.
In the most recent shooting, a 43-year-old man was shot in the leg in his Harwood Street apartment on Sept. 30.
A 21-year-old man was shot twice in the chest while he was in a car sitting in a parking lot between Chatham Street and Oakwood Avenue apartment buildings on Sept. 22. A man was grazed in the head with a bullet at Silsbee and Broad streets on Sept. 20.
Police say another shooting occurred on Harwood Street earlier in September. In that instance, shots were fired but nobody was hit.
It’s not clear what event prompted the shootings, which are under investigation by the department’s Gang Unit and Criminal Investigation Division.
“In these situations, we try to reach out to other agencies we work with who have contacts with some of the gang members who we believe to be involved,” Kmiec said. “At this point, we want to be more proactive and get out there and engage these members and see if we can quell the situation, while at the same time, investigate.”
There hasn’t been any related violence in the past week, but Kmiec said the department isn’t sure why things have calmed down. Sometimes there’s a gap between meetings with those involved or there could be a chance encounter. He declined to name suspects.
One of the organizations working to try to quell the situation is Stop the Violence Lynn.
“We’re actually reaching out to people that we know who might be on the ground that could call a truce, to calm everything down,” said Ward 6 Councilor Fred Hogan, one of the founding members of Stop the Violence. “There’s a lot of things going on in the city right now and we’re just tired of what’s going on.”
Antonio Gutierrez, another founding member and founder of Lynn Youth Street Outreach Advocacy, which aims to combat juvenile delinquency, works with youth through the court system and on the streets.
When shootings begin, Gutierrez said he reaches out to young men on the streets in an effort to get them to resolve whatever issues there may be, urge them to reach out to him for support, and make sure people are looking out for each other and staying safe.
He said he doesn’t know what prompted the shootings, but it usually doesn’t take much. The violence could start from a fight or another issue that could start a back and forth retaliatory situation.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had these issues,” Gutierrez said. “We’re just trying to reach out to the community to try to reduce what’s going on. Experience tells me most of the time, it works. The random stuff stops and we try to move forward in hopes that we have no fatals.”