Police seek to stem surge of violence in Coatesville

COATESVILLE, Pa. (WPVI) -- There has been a surge of deadly violence in Coatesville, Chester County.

Investigators say they know what's behind the crimes, and now they're working to fix the troubled community.

Maurice Turner is an angry and frightened resident of 6th and Belmont.

"I heard a lot of gunshots, and I just told everyone in the house to hit the floor, don't go to the windows, don't go to the doors," said Turner.

He lives near the location of Coatesville's latest homicide. It brings the total number of murders in the city to seven this year.

It's also the fourth in Turner's neighborhood, which is just off Lincoln Highway, in the past five days.

It happened at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"Multiple gunshots, one victim. Still light out, and we know for a fact there were several dozen people who witnessed this homicide," said Chief Jack Laufer of Coatesville Police.

The Chester County D.A. has his detectives working on these murder cases as well. All indications are all these murders this year are related to drug trafficking, mostly on Coatesville's east end."

"It's a very nice little community, and a lot of the stuff that's happening out here starts at home," said John Allen.

The police chief says he is battling an intimidation and no-snitch mentality, and his trying to work in partnership with the troubled community.

A local activist has this advice for the cops.

"I believe the police may have to get out of their cars at some point in time, especially in a neighborhood like this," said activist Alphonso Newsome.

Three of the seven homicide cases have been cleared, and the D.A. has posted a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in Tuesday night's murder.

Anonymous tips can be submitted via text message to TIP411 (847411) with keyword "Coatesville" or by downloading the Coatesville Police Smart Phone Application that can be found in the iTunes or GooglePlay Stores.
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