AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Amarillo Police Department (APD) held a press briefing at 1 p.m. on Tuesday regarding a string of recent drive-by shootings that has brought the city up to 21 homicides in 2021, breaking a grim 20-year record.
According to the APD’s Corporal Jeb Hilton before the conference, “There was a second homicide last night at NW 15th and Madison Street and we will be discussing that incident and some other recent shootings.”
“In the past 24 hours we have investigated six shootings. Five of those have been on the north side of Amarillo, two of those have been deaths.” Hilton said, opening the conference.
This came after the first reported murder of Monday night, centered around the OYO Hotel on east I-40. However, when asked, Hilton said that the hotel incident did not seem related to the incident on NW 15th.
The same couldn’t be said for the homicide on NW 15th and Madison and multiple other shootings that have happened in recent hours. Monday night’s shooting that killed one woman while she drove her vehicle, according to the APD, followed four other drive-by shootings that appear to investigators to be similar and possibly committed by the same suspect.
The shootings, as described by the APD’s release, that were investigated on Monday, Sept. 6:
- 12:05 A.M. – APD officers were called to the 900 block of Heather on a drive-by shooting, where a 17 year-old was shot in his upper body while driving his vehicle. He was taken to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
- 12:36 A.M. – APD officers responded to the 1300 block of Aster. A 20 year-old victim was driving in the 1000 block of Eastern Street and the suspect vehicle came up beside him and began to shoot. The victim’s vehicle was hit, but he was not injured.
- 12:41 A.M. – APD officers responded to the area of NE 20th Avenue and Iris Street. A 48 year-old victim told officers she was driving on NE 20th Avenue when the suspect vehicle drove beside her and began to fire into the driver’s side of her car. She was not injured.
- 8:20 P.M. – APD officers responded to the 6700 block of NE 19th avenue. A 52 year-old victim told officers that she was followed by the suspect vehicle to that area when someone in the vehicle fired shots at her, hitting her vehicle. She was not injured.
- 9:21 P.M. – APD officers were called to the intersection of NW 15th Avenue and Monroe Street. A 62 year-old woman was found dead in her vehicle by officers, and was reported to have been shot while driving.
The first four incidents happened in the same neighborhood, according to Hilton, and all of the victims described the suspect vehicle as a dark colored four-door sedan with bright headlights. While APD has continued to investigate, no leads have yet led to an arrest.
Hilton advised caution from Amarillo residents and motorists, and for all to ‘be on the lookout’ for a vehicle matching the released description. Hilton continued on to say that while there was no reason at the moment to believe the shootings were related to gang violence, it ‘appears that this vehicle is out targeting innocent people’ and caution is needed.
As previously reported, the Amarillo area has reported a rise in homicides and violent crimes. Hilton said that the city’s homicide average is 15 to 16 a year, though by Aug. 25 there had already been 19 in 2021.
Cpl. Hilton said at the time that this year’s homicides are all gun-related.
“We’re not sure what’s causing it, but we’re hoping that we can continue to look into the reasons that we’re seeing them here, the people that commit them, catching the people that commit them before they can commit another crime, and making sure that we’re doing what we can to keep those numbers as low as possible,” said Cpl. Hilton.
Detectives asked that anyone with information on these cases call the Amarillo Police Department or Amarillo Crime Stoppers at 374-4400. Tips can also be given anonymously at amapolice.org or on the Amarillo Crime Stoppers P3 mobile app.