Winston-Salem police investigators say most targeted shootings are crimes of ‘opportunity’

Piedmont Triad News

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — The number of shootings and concerning crimes in Winston-Salem continues to climb Wednesday, as authorities open up another shooting investigation involving vehicles.

Just after midnight, authorities responded to a “shots fired” call in the 4100 block of Salem Spring Court.

Police said two people were in their vehicle when three people in another vehicle pulled up to them and fired several rounds into their vehicle.

Neighbors tell FOX8 they heard roughly 10 shots before they heard the sound of screeching tires.

The two men were not seriously hurt and could not tell authorities why someone would shoot them.

Witnesses reported at least four of the bullets entering their homes, with one neighboring telling FOX8 that his metal water mug stopped one of the bullets from hurting his family. A second bullet was reportedly found in his couch.

Police say these crimes tend to be crimes of opportunity.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily chosen for a specific reason, other than a quick opportunity to take advantage of,” said Lt. Amy Gauldin, with the WSPD Violent Firearms Investigation Team.

The city also saw eight shootings over the weekend, most of which are believed to be targeted.

The individuals having prior run-ins with one another “had some sort of beef with one another, maybe a fight over a girl, or seeing them in a certain location,” Gauldin said. “While it may be a targeted attack, they don’t know how to handle a firearm. They’re just shooting and whatever gets hit, gets hit.”

Three out of those eight shootings happened on the road, according to the victims.

A woman was shot while driving down U.S. 52, another man and woman were hit by gunfire while they sat inside their vehicle in an apartment parking lot, and a third person was hit while driving in the city.

“90 percent of the time, it happens at a specific location. They get in their vehicle and then try to drive down the street, and then decide, ‘oh now it’s time to call the police.’ Or, they’re trying to get the hospital,” Gauldin said.

Police have had increased help from witnesses, through the use of their anonymous video-sharing application that allows families to share security camera footage via e-mail with authorities.

Gauldin explained that victim cooperation has become increasingly difficult.

“Maybe fear of retaliation, but there’s ways around that. We can work with victims to ensure their safety,” Gauldin said.

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