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City, community leaders say latest Davenport gunfire incident ‘unacceptable’

Mayor, police chief, NAACP address recent shooting that damaged the Figge, Skybridge
Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 3:01 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 4:22 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - City and community leaders made an impassioned plea Monday for the community’s help in curbing gun violence in Davenport.

Officials held a press conference one day after gunfire erupted in downtown Davenport and damaged the Figge Art Museum and Skybridge.

“It’s a prime example of individuals and groups in our community that some seem to have a blatant disregard for human life and property,” Mayor Mike Matson said. “I said last week for far too long the community has placed the sole burden on preventing crime on our police, and it’s time again for us as a community coming together as active participants in dealing with rising crime.”

“We need the community’s help to ensure incidents like this don’t continue. Our community must become invested in developing solutions.”

During the press conference, police played surveillance video of the shooting that occurred around 1:30 a.m. Sunday at the Redstone Parking Ramp.

Police say a large group was gathered at the top of the parking ramp when several dozen shots were fired. Ten windows at the Figge and three windows on the Skybridge were damaged. No injuries were reported.

“I would like our community to watch the footage and ask yourselves, is this acceptable in our community?” Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski said Monday. “Is it acceptable for our kids, our young men, young women to be involved in this and not care about each other, not care about helping to solve the problem of violent crime in our community? Is this where we are as a community?”

He said those who were present at the scene refused to cooperate with police.

“We’re now seeking assistance from our community,” Sikorski said. “We need your help. We need to know who did this because it’s unacceptable in our community.”

Monday’s press conference is the second one held in less than a week regarding gun violence in the community. During last week’s press conference, Sikorski said the violence is not random and much of it is retaliation between hybrid gangs “that have no regard for human life.”

“They think nothing of murdering a 12 and 14-year-old in broad daylight,” he said Thursday. “These gangs would rather seek their own justice on the streets of Davenport than cooperate with authorities to see offenders brought to justice through our legal system.”

During that press conference, Matson announced the formation of a new Violent Crime Community Task Force. The task force will have input from various community organizations, such as NAACP, LULAC, Davenport Community Schools, Genesis Health Systems, Vera French Mental Health Services, Saint Ambrose, and the Quad City Chamber of Commerce.

Reverend Melvin Grimes, chair of community relations for the NAACP, said during Monday’s press conference that incidents like the shooting at the parking ramp “can no longer happen” in the community.

“I don’t want to have to do any more funerals,” he said. “I’m tired of writing condolences to parents who have lost children, young people who are part of this violence, and victims of this violence.

“The finger-pointing has got to stop. Saying that ‘I don’t trust anybody’ has to stop, because if it doesn’t, then trouble is going to visit somebody on their front doors. And it’s going to be another loss of life which does not make any sense.”

Reverend Stephen Echols with Davenport Peace challenged the community to step up and start taking action.

“This is our community, we don’t have to take this,” he said. “We don’t have to stand for this. No, this is our responsibility. We must be able to take some ownership. This is our responsibility. We must be able to take some ownership. This is past color.”

Police ask anyone with information regarding Sunday’s shooting to call the Davenport Police Department at 563-326-6125 or submit a tip online at qccrimestoppers.com.

TV6 spoke with Figge officials Monday about the impact of Sunday’s incident.

They said it will be at least until the fall before the glass can be replaced on the side of the building, but it will not impact the museum’s ability to have visitors.

Officials also said they hope this never happens again.

“It’s sad,” Todd Woebber, CFO of the Figge, said. “It’s not something we want to see in the downtown. It’s a blemish. Hopefully, we’ll get it behind us and not see a repeat of it.”

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