Thursday, September 26, 2013
The effort to solve the case is ongoing. But Thursday morning Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams took a new approach to his appeal to the public for information on last weekend's deadly shooting in Old Town.
Chief Williams became one of the callers who dialed into the popular Hitman and Heather morning show on radio station Power 93.9. The show and the radio station are especially popular with a younger, urban audience.
"We need the community's help. We know based on photographs that we have, there were a lot of people with their cell phones out, their video cameras out, you can see it in the pictures. Somebody has the shooter on camera," Chief Williams told listeners.
During their four-hour long morning show, Greg "The Hitman" Williams and Heather (Heather Larson) were engaging listeners in a discussion about what can be done in Old Town to reduce the violence. The radio hosts made their own plea to listeners for help solving last weekend's crime.
"We want to make a public cry this morning: Come forward. Help the police solve this crime. Help the family that lost a family member to get closure," The "Hitman" said.
"Yea, get a violent person off the streets," Heather said. "Do you want a person running around who is capable of doing this?"
Many listeners called in or posted messages on the radio program's Facebook page to make suggestions for how police can make the area safer.
Those suggestions included installing metal detectors, increasing security, and restricting traffic flow.
Chief Williams welcomed the suggestions but at the same time cautioned listeners.
"We have to balance. Do you put a hundred officers down there? Then people are going to say you are creating sort of a Gestapo environment. So, we are balancing people having a good time and having their safety," Chief Williams said.
Many people in Old Town Thursday night said perhaps something can be done to improve the situation, but in the meantime they said they won't stop coming down to enjoy the area.
"The thought never crossed my mind," Wichita's Steve Morse said. I feel safe."
He and others say they may just not stay out as late. If they do, they say they'll be on high alert.
"I'd definitely be a little more cautious at closing time when the bars are closing, Morse said.
Being cautious, careful and taking personal responsibility is exactly the message Chief Williams has drilled home all week and made a point of saying again Thursday morning on the radio.
"It's one person's decision that affected seven people's lives and that's unfortunate," Chief Williams said.