City officials responds to weekend of gun violence that killed two teens

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WILMINGTON (DE) BY DIGITAL STAFF: A 16-Year-Old boy is the latest victim to Wilmington’s Gun Violence epidemic that seems to not only be plaquing the Wilmington community, but also the Purzycki administration, as city officials seem to struggle with the overwhelming violence.

Since Saturday October 23, 2021, there have been two teens killed by gun violence and now police are investigating a shooting of a 16-Year-Old teen boy who they say was shot at 7th and N. West Streets just before 8:00 p.m. Monday night.

The teen was treated at the scene by EMS and medics before being transported to a local area hospital in stable condition. He was the lucky one. The other two shootings since then claimed the lives of two other teen boys on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday October 23, 2021, 18-Year-Old Synai Smith was shot in the 200 block of W. 30th Street just before 5:00 p.m. Smith was treated at the scene by St. Francis EMS and New Castle County Paramedics before being transported to a local area hospital where he died from his injuries. At the crime scene, evidence markers could be seen throughout the entire block as some vehicles were struck by gunfire. Get the story here.

Then on Sunday October 24, 2021, shortly after 8:00 p.m. 18-Year-Old Zion Davis-Shelton of New Castle was shot multiple times in the unit block of W. 27th Street. Police say he was transported to a local area hospital where he died. A Delaware Newsline Journalist counted more than 26 evidence markers at the crime scene. Get the story here.

To date there has been 33 people killed by gun violence in Wilmington and 108 injured according to the Gun Violence Archives.

We reached out to Mayor Mike Purzycki‘s office for comment but did not hear back from him by the time we published this story. However, the mayor did respond later in the day and said “This weekend’s killings are a grim reminder that while so much good is taking place in the city, there is too much isolation from healthy societal norms among our young men—isolation that manifests itself in unthinkable violence. That this is a national condition is no comfort. It is our responsibility to find solutions. I grieve for the families of the victims.”

When asked what the city is doing to curb the gun violence, a Wilmington Police spokesman said investigative strategies help identify who is responsible for these incidents, while Group Violence Intervention seeks to steer these individuals away from crime altogether.

Dave Karas, the city’s police department communications director said “The Chief has spoken on numerous occasions – community meetings, City Council meetings and through releases and reports – about our core strategies to combat gun violence, which include intelligence-led policing, leveraging the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) and implementing Group Violence Intervention to blend social service provision with traditional law enforcement action.”

Karas added, “As violence is often driven by interpersonal conflicts among members of various groups, our investigative strategies help identify who is responsible for these incidents, while Group Violence Intervention seeks to steer these individuals away from crime altogether. We will continue to implement our proven strategies to address this challenge, and to share the message of the importance of severe consequences for those who possess illegal firearms and drive violence in our City.”

“The fact remains that far too many individuals feel comfortable illegally carrying a firearm. So far this year, we have made more than 250 gun arrests – on pace with last year’s record-breaking numbers and leaps and bounds over the totals we saw in years past.,” Said Wilmington Police Chief Robert J. Tracey. “At a time when the majority of the murders we have seen are caused by gunfire, removing illegal firearms from our streets and preventing shooting incidents – both fatal and nonfatal – are key to driving positive progress.”

“As you note, we have seen a 15-percent reduction in shooting incidents so far this year. We attribute this to the efforts of our officers to continue to get illegal guns off of our streets, the work of our investigators to identify suspects and interrupt the shooting cycle, and our collaborative efforts with our partners in the criminal justice system to identify those who are responsible for gun violence not only in Wilmington, but also in New Castle County and throughout our State and region.,” Tracey added.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Douglas Rivell at (302) 576-3633. You can also provide information to Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or

The Wilmington Police Department Victim Services Unit is available to provide support, information and referrals to those who are victims of crime, and can be reached at (302) 576-3622. Additionally, the WPD Youth Response Unit is available to provide free counseling and services to children and their families who have been exposed to potentially traumatizing events, and can be reached at (302) 576-3183.


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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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