The Springfield police chief says dozens of repeat violent offenders are locked up thanks to a new target list. The "repeat offender target list" focuses on arresting and charging people who police say consistently commit violent crimes.
Officers in the Criminal Investigation Section and Crime Analysis Unit are identifying this year's list of career criminals involved in violent crime. Past year's lists have led to charges filed against 52 people.
“I noticed gunshots. I heard the first shot and then four or five in rapid succession,” said Vickie, who asked KSPR News not to use her last name. She witnessed a drive-by shooting on Elm Street last summer. “As soon as the gunshots stopped I heard the screaming which was ‘Go fast! Go fast!'” Vickie said. “The car came around the corner and it was squealing on two tires.” According to court documents, the bullets hit a car but did not injure the driver or passenger.
Ktwaun Allen is charged with the crime. Allen was on the "Operation Crossfire” target list. He and 10 other people are now charged. 10 other people on the list are in custody facing possible charges. One person on the list was deported. “They were off the street in some way shape or form,” Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams said.
In 2010 when the target list first began during “Operation Gun Play,” Williams says officers identified 68 people. That year prosecutors charged 41 people on the list. Last year the list of repeat violent offenders dropped to 28 people “That is a revolving list,” Williams said.
The list is part of a crime reduction effort that also includes tracking known gang members. "We have a transitory gang problem. Springfield does not have a large group of homegrown gang members,” Williams said. “What we do get is people from outside the area people from St. Louis, Chicago, Memphis, Little Rock and Kansas City."
Williams says gang members come to sell drugs for more money and less competition. “It’s a safe community and even bad guys want to do what they do without worrying about getting shot,” Williams said.
Williams says prosecuting violent offenders to the fullest extent sends a message. “Don't go to Springfield because they are going to put you in jail there so you might as well stay home,” Williams said. “We are not going to let them gain a foothold at all. We are going to make it uncomfortable for them when they come to town.”
As the witness of a shooting in broad daylight, Vickie hopes the list successfully puts more violent offenders behind bars. “I totally agree, I totally agree,” Vickie said. “Whatever I can do as a private citizen to help, I will do.”
Springfield police are sharing their list with outside agencies to create a regional focus. Williams says many people on the list are constantly moving which makes it difficult to track them.
The charges against people on the list include drive-by shootings, owning an illegal sawed-off shotgun, burglary, and robbery.
28 Violent Offenders Identified
11 People Charged
10 People in Custody
1 Person Deported
Operation Gun Play
68 Violent Offenders Identified
41 People Charged or in Custody
Operation Crossfire List of Charged Individuals:
Ktwaun A. Allen
Kwanell R. Allen
Luis A Cobayashi
Gregory J. Cohen
Diego McCaskill Jr.