Police Chief addresses Montgomery's recent string of murders - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Police Chief addresses Montgomery's recent string of murders

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Brandon McClain was shot Tuesday in parking lot of a gas station at the corner Lower Wetumpka Road and Forbes Drive. Brandon McClain was shot Tuesday in parking lot of a gas station at the corner Lower Wetumpka Road and Forbes Drive.
M.B. Manik, 43, died after being shot during a robbery at this store on Wednesday. M.B. Manik, 43, died after being shot during a robbery at this store on Wednesday.
Demetrius McGhee, 20, was killed during a shooting at the corner of Columbia Avenue and Bellview Road on Thursday. (Source: Family) Demetrius McGhee, 20, was killed during a shooting at the corner of Columbia Avenue and Bellview Road on Thursday. (Source: Family)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The city of Montgomery has seen three murders in as many days in a string of deadly shootings. The police chief says detectives are working overtime to bring justice to the families of the victims in the wake of the recent rash of violent crimes. 

"The detectives have had very little sleep," said Montgomery Police Chief Kevin Murphy. "We've had three homicides. We've only had eight for the year but three of the eight have occurred in just a short period of time in one week."

The first shooting happened Tuesday in the parking lot of a gas station at the corner Lower Wetumpka Road and Forbes Drive.

Relatives say it was Brandon McClain's 25th birthday and he made a quick trip the convenience store two blocks from his house when he was shot in his side, the bullet damaging vital organs.

Police have charged Courtney Fuller, 23, of Montgomery, with one count of murder in the case. Following Fuller's arrest, MPD says they developed more information that led to the arrest of his cousin, 34-year-old Monica Carter, on one count of first degree hindering prosecution.

According to police, Brandon McClain and Courtney Fuller "were acquainted" and the shooting resulted from an ongoing dispute. Montgomery Public Safety Director Christopher Murphy called it "personal."

Then, Wednesday, a man walked into the 4 Way Convenient Store at 1408 Mobile Rd., and shot the clerk during a robbery. The clerk, M.B. Manik, 43, of Montgomery died at the hospital a short time later. 

Surveillance footage of the suspect was released, showing him going into the store and pulling out a handgun as he opened the front door and then coming back out of the business after the deadly incident, calmly walking back into the neighborhood behind the store in the same direction he came from. Montgomery police are asking the public to help identify and locate the suspect. A $1,000 reward is also being offered. The suspect was wearing a gray sweatshirt, black pants, black hat and a blue bandana.

On Thursday night, a late-night shooting incident in Montgomery at the corner of Columbia Avenue and Bellview Road in West Montgomery claimed the life of 20-year-old Demetrius McGhee.

McGhee's mother, Catenia, says he was shot multiple times, including once in the head, and died later at the hospital. 

"They couldn't save my baby. They said he died in surgery," she said. 

Police have not released any information on the case, saying in a press release that the circumstances surrounding the shooting are under investigation. No arrests have been made. 

Chief Murphy said the department is working to solve the Mobile Road and Columbia Avenue killings, working with witnesses and citizens in the hopes of making more arrests very soon. He could not discuss any details pertaining to the ongoing investigations.

"Anytime something like this occurs in our city, people, law enforcement, they don't need to panic. That's not going to solve the problem. So we're going to be purposeful in our approach to this and we're going to address it in a very logical manner. Getting angry and panicking are not going to help the situation so we're going to remain calm and do our job," the chief told WSFA. 

He said homicides and violent crimes are the most difficult for law enforcement to intervene and to prevent. The department does have long term initiatives in place to combat violent crimes, meeting with neighborhood associations and civic groups.

"If you're having a rash of burglaries and property crimes in a particular neighborhood, you can certainly put resources in that area to combat that problem. But unless a law enforcement officer is at the exact place in time where this violence is going to escalate, it's impossible to predict that and to stop it unless by happenstance, the officer just happens to be right there," he said. "So it's very problematic for us to influence or prevent these types of crimes."

In her son's case, Catenia McGhee says the violence did escalate and ended in his death. She believes his murder stems from his involvement with a girl and says he was attacked a month ago by a group of people who had harassed him and threatened his life.

"He warned by people to watch his back but we didn't think it was going to come to this right here," McGhee said. "The police said he was running for his life and they still shot and killed my baby. He was trying to make it home, I believe. But he couldn't make it here. They didn't have to kill my child. They really didn't. It don't make no sense. He didn't deserve to die that way."

Police ask anyone with information on any of the homicides to call CrimeStoppers at 215-STOP, Secret Witness at 262-4000, or the Montgomery Police Department at 625-2831.

"They need to get the people that did that to my son because that's not right. We want answers and justice. They need to be punished for what they did,' Catenia McGhee said. 

The family hopes the violence happening in Montgomery will come to an end. 

"I wish we could stop with all this black on black crime because he was so young and he had a lot going for him. It's just a tragedy for a mother to lose her child," said Demetrius McGhee's cousin, Corey. 

Meanwhile, detectives continue their investigations. 

"We had 50 homicides last year. I was concerned then and I'm concerned every time we have an incident of violence in our city. But this is what we do. We're professionals and we're going to continue with the mission and continue investigating and making arrests," Chief Murphy said. 

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