Police Say Recent Columbia Shootings Linked

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COLUMBIA - Police said Monday there have been seven shots-fired incidents in Columbia since Jan. 24--many of them linked.  Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton said this is like nothing he's seen before.  Burton said the police department believes many of these incidents are related, possibly from gang activity.

"I believe it's unprecedented since the 90s we've had this many in such a short period of time." said Burton at a news conference this afternoon.

Chuck E. Cheese's was the most recent area of shootings Sunday night. "I was shocked," said Tami Price, who has a 4-year-old son.  "It happened at a place where children are.  Just, it was at Chuck E. Cheese's of all places."

Burton and Price share a similar view on what needs to happen for these violent acts to end.

"I know the police are doing everything they can," said Price.  "Anyone who sees anything needs to call the tips number.  We need to get these people caught so they can't do anymore, because someone's going to get hurt.  Someone innocent is going to get hurt; it's not going to end up being someone they're going after."

There have been shootings near the 5900 block of Redwing Drive and near the 500 block of Mary Street.  Additionally, police responded to shots fired near Southside Pizza on Saturday morning.

Burton said his department has created a special team to try and find the people responsible.