May 19, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

DeKalb Police Chief discusses crime prevention after string of gas station homicides

3 min read

Some DeKalb County residents are expressing frustration after a pair of homicides at two separate gas stations that took place three days apart.

On Sunday, police said a 23-year-old was the unintended victim of a shooting outside a BP gas station.

Then just Tuesday night, another man was murdered across the street.

Residents claim lives are being jeopardized traveling to those stores.

Back in May, DeKalb County police unveiled plans to reduce crime along South Hairston and Redan roads. 

Chief Mirtha Ramos admits while there has been some progress, her department still has more work to do.

People in the community said this type of violence has been an issue for nearly a decade, and they want this solved immediately.

“Crime impacts our property values. Nobody wants to a community where it’s perceived to be crime,” Lance Hammonds, the Chair of the Rockbridge Coalition, said. 

Several police officers surrounded a Chevron gas station near the intersection of Redan Road and South Hairston Road Tuesday evening.

“I was appalled and disappointed. This close to the holidays, that was somebody’s family member, somebody’s child,” Hammonds explained.

Investigators said someone murdered a man that night here near Stone Mountain.

Just two days earlier, they told us 23-year-old Kenneth Reed was shot and killed at the BP across the street.

“We just have to stop this,” Hammonds said. 

People said shootings, drugs, loitering, public intoxication, panhandling, and littering have caused concern for years.

“In the last six months, we’ve had a 61 percent reduction in crime in comparison to the first six months,” Chief Mirtha Ramos said.

Wednesday afternoon, we sat down with the chief to talk about the frustration fueling many in her community.

“Police officers can’t really enforce loitering on private property unless we are given permission to do so. It’s just more really the loitering that leads to violence in the area,” Ramos described.

Since May, the Chief said they’ve specifically assigned officers to this area for targeted patrols, the department has met with store owners who agreed to increase their safety measures, undercover officers have conducted surveillance to identify any criminal activity, and they’ve brought on detectives to assist with patrols along this corridor.

“We understand there was a homicide yesterday. We are already in the process of making an arrest and closing out that case. Why? Due to the relationships, the technology. We’re able to close out Those cases,” the Chief explained.

Earlier this year, at least two men murdered, and several others were injured in shootings between both stores.

Police said there have also been aggravated assaults and armed robberies in the area this year.

Residents told us it’s not just this intersection that’s of concern but anywhere along that corridor where there’s a gas station or convenience store.

“I do feel like our DeKalb County officials are listening to us, but we do want this problem solved ASAP,” Hammonds detailed.

“Many of the issues that I see come from a lack of parenting, a lack of structure,” County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, who represents the district, said.

“This problem is far greater than that of legislation. It’s an inherent problem with the lack of respect for human life,” the Commissioner said.

Anyone with information about these two homicides should contact the DeKalb County Police Department.