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Wilmington sets grim milestone

December 12, 2008 4:14:31 PM PST
At 25 murders so far in 2008, Wilmington Delaware has reached the highest number of killings that have ever happened there in a single year. In 2007, there were 14 killings.

The 25th victim, 20-year-old Brandon J. White-Smith of Chester, Pa. was shot and killed on Concord Avenue by an unidentified man Wednesday night.

The 24th victim was Brandon Brinkley, the cousin of newly-elected city councilman and funeral director Justin Wright.

"Me being in the profession that I'm in, I never thought I'd experience violence at this level," Wright said.

Combating street violence was a promise Wright made to his constituents when he kicked-off his campaign with the help of his cousin. A cousin who is now the victim of another unsolved murder.

"I never knew that December 6th would come, where it would be my family," said Wright.

So the grieving councilman-elect, the youngest yet to be sworn in on January 6th, cherishes memories with his family and photos from happier days.

In the meantime, Police Chief Michael Szcerba acknowledges his disappointment with a criminal justice system that makes crime-fighting an endless battle. An armed, seven-time convicted felon, he says, was just picked up by police last week.

"We have this constantly revolving door which, of course, places the community at risk and the police officers at risk," Szcerba said.

Wilmington police have vowed to become even more aggressive, with the chief organizing a first-time homicide division.

In the meantime, Wright is calling on criminals to do the right thing.

"In life, let's reverence other people. Put the guns down."

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