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Police in Asheville, North Carolina, are asking for help to find the suspect who left someone hospitalized and in critical condition after shooting them 10 times on a porch Wednesday.
Investigators are considering the act a continuation of the rising incidence of violent crime in the months since the city cut the police budget, according to local outlet WLOS.
“We are investigating it and do believe it’s possibly related to ongoing violent issues in the city of Asheville, yes,” Detective Sergeant John Zeigler said.
“Asheville police say 17 shell casings from three different guns were found at the scene,” WLOS further reported. “The victim was taken to the hospital, where police say they’re in critical but stable condition. Detectives have identified a person of interest in this case but still need your help.”
The rising rate of crime in Asheville has landed the city of approximately 90,000 people in the top 10% most violent cities in America, according to FBI crime data.
“In Asheville, North Carolina, violent crime is more than twice as common as it is nationwide. In 2019, the most recent year of available data, there were a total of 695 violent crimes reported in the city — or 742 for every 100,000 people,” according to 24/7 Wall St., an independent financial news and opinion website.
Amid calls from far-left activists to defund the Asheville Police Department (APD) by half following the death of George Floyd, the Asheville City Council voted 5-2 last September to cut their budget by 3%.
“Since January 1, 2021, the Asheville Police Department has responded to 348 calls for service reporting gunshots or a person shot,” according to WLOS. “In addition, 27 people have been shot in Asheville during the same time period.”
The APD made international headlines in June when they released a list of crimes to which their force was no longer able to respond because of the exodus of officers. As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
In a Wednesday press release, the APD explained they have lost 84 officers since January 1, 2020, which is a devastating number for a force that employs just 219 people. Response times even to crimes such as homicides have increased three minutes during peak hours, APD Chief David Zack recently said.
“There will be things that we simply cannot get to,” Zack told the Asheville City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. “We’re talking it’s taking us almost three minutes longer to get to those very serious calls.”
“Our detective unit right now is completely gassed out with the volume of serious investigations that they have to address. And we will have to triage those. Those officers are having to work extremely long hours,” Zack also said.
David Rhode, a resident of downtown Asheville, told WLOS he is not surprised at the news, given how the APD have been treated during the past year. “When it comes to the crimes that are no longer being responded to, what does the city of Asheville expect when you’ve created an environment that is not conducive to human resources?” he said. “Would you want to be in a job that didn’t appreciate you?”