‘Zero tolerance’: Chester police chief vows action after shootings include homicide

Police in Chester vowed that there will be zero tolerance for crime and gun violence in the city after two shootings this week.

Chester Police Department Chief Eric Williams held a news conference Friday after a man was shot late Wednesday. It was the second shooting in two days in the city. Another man was gunned down Tuesday, Williams said.

“We want people to know, we have zero tolerance for this in Chester,” Williams said Friday afternoon at Chester City Hall. Williams stood with several of his detectives and patrol officers in what he said was a show of unity that gun violence will be investigated and arrests will be made.

Late Wednesday, a 30-year-old man was shot while sitting outside a home on Jeter Street, Williams said. The victim was able to speak to police before being sent to a hospital for treatment, Williams said.

The night before, Andrew Lamont Johnson, 36, was gunned down while sitting in a car just before midnight at the intersection of York and Brawley streets, officials said. Johnson died at the hospital in Chester in a case being investigated as a homicide, police said.

Williams did not say whether there is a link between any of the shootings, citing the ongoing investigations. But Williams did say that all the shootings are connected because each contains unacceptable violence.

Williams declined to go into investigative details, but said there are persons of interest in the shootings. Williams said the investigations include the Chester County Sheriff’s Office, State Law Enforcement Division, FBI, ATF, and DEA.

“We are standing united for what’s right,” Williams said.

The city of Chester has about 5,500 residents in a county of about 32,000 people.

Police are investigating other shootings dating back to April. Five victims were shot in April in an 11-day span, police said. In May, three people were shot in five days, officials said.

Chester County has had at least 10 shootings since April, according to police and sheriff officials. The latest shootings prompted Williams to send out a message to the community that police are tackling each incident, he said.

Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey attended the news conference. Dorsey said afterward that his agency will continue to work with the Chester city police to ensure the safety of all residents.

Williams said that continued police checkpoints, and other investigative methods will be used to both investigate crimes and deter other incidents.

“Whatever it takes,” Williams said.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.