Winston-Salem police address increase in homicides after two in 48 hours

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Although it may be uncommon to have two homicides in 48 hours in Winston-Salem, on Thursday, it became a reality.

Just before 10 p.m. Thursday, 28-year-old Jonathan Russell McCravey Jr. was found in the front yard of a home on Bohannon Park Circle. McCravey had been shot and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

“I’m tired of the violence and I feel so sorry for the people that are losing their sons,” said Mary Alexander, whose granddaughter lives near the scene.

On Wednesday morning, 41-year-old Eric Jermane Pegues was shot multiple times in the parking lot of Paper Moon Gentlemen’s Club. Pegues was brought to the hospital in a private vehicle but succumbed to his injuries.

These were the seventh and eighth homicides in Winston-Salem this year, compared to four at this point in 2015.

“We are concerned here at the police department, we’re concerned about these acts of violence and we know that many of our citizens are concerned as well,” said Winston-Salem Police Chief Barry Rountree, while addressing the media Friday afternoon.

Rountree insisted that the general public is safe, saying that all eight of the homicides were not at random.

“There have been some type of connection and or association between the victims and the suspects,” he said.

Rountree said these incidents will not be tolerated, adding that the department “will use and redirect all of our available resources; and that includes local, state and federal resources, to address these acts of violence.”

As far as the increase in homicides from 2015 to 2016, Rountree said, “It’s nothing that I can attribute it to, it’s nothing that I can predict. I wish I could predict when the next time someone is going to choose to use a weapon to solve a dispute.”

Although the homicides appear to be random, an uneasy feeling remains in the communities which were directly impacted.

“Now, you don’t have to bother nobody. You’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time sometimes,” Alexander said. “You’re not safe nowhere. You’re not safe at church, you’re not safe at home.”

Rountree said that, although there were multiple witnesses to the latest homicides, many of them have not been forthcoming with information. He added that this includes McCravey’s family members.

“We do need your assistance, again I stress we need your assistance, to bring the individuals responsible to justice,” he said.