CR Police Chief "sick of gun violence in CR"

Police Chief Wayne Jerman said he's sick of gun violence corrupting Cedar Rapids. The most recent shooting killed two teens, with two more still in critical condition.

The area around the Iowa Smoke Shop on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids is surrounded by police tape after an early morning shooting left two dead on May 18, 2019 (Rebecca Varilek/KCRG)

Jerman addressed these concerns in the bi-monthly Public Safety and Youth Services committee meeting. City council and community members all spoke specifically about the teens who died this past weekend.

The shooting early Saturday morning happened in the parking lot of the Iowa Smoke Shop on Kirkwood Court southwest. It killed 18-year-old Matrell Johnson and 18-year-old Royal Abram. Two others in the car are still in the hospital.

Jerman said the same group of people is responsible for most shootings and a lot of other crimes. Jerman calls it a hybrid gang, that's different than regular street gangs as they're not exactly loyal to one sole leader. Jerman said one thing they have in common is the blatant disregard for human life.

People spoke up saying it's more than that, though.

But Police Chief Wayne Jerman said they've been reaching out and now it's the community's turn to return the favor.

"We've worked very hard to increase our level of trust with everybody in the community but I think young people in this city don't have any reason not to trust us," said Jerman.

Cedar Rapids has seen a rise in shots fired in recent years, from 87 in 2016 to 117 in 2018. This year, there have already been more than 20.

Jerman said he's confident somebody saw what happened in the smoke shop parking lot over the weekend and they need to reach out to authorities if they want anything to change.

"They're got to want to end this almost as badly as this," said Jerman. "I want this to end immediately and they have to join us to want to put a stop to this."

Anyone with information can call Cedar Rapids Police or can also remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers.