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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Outbreak of Tucson murders raises concerns

Outbreak of Tucson murders raises concerns

Four Tucsonans have been murdered within the Tucson city limits since classes began a little more than a week ago.

 

The most recent murder was a man at the 3000 block of Seneca Street early Sunday morning, police officials said.

 

“”It was really shocking how close the murder was,”” UA media arts junior Austin Night said. “”It was right next to the courtyard in the front of our house.””

 

Night witnessed the aftermath of the crime and overheard it taking place outside of his apartment at Bella Vista Townhomes.

 

“”It was loud outside. We could hear the people yelling. Then, boom, four cop cars showed up,”” Night said. “”It’s so weird. It’s the first week of school, and there was already a murder outside my door.””

 

Over the course of the last three weeks, eight people have been murdered in Tucson.

 

“”It is unusual that there were this many in a two week period,”” Tucson Police Department spokesman Sgt. Matt Ronstadt said. But he assured that there was no direct connection between the murders.

 

Many theories have been put forth as explanations for the recent violence, including gang-related activities, narcotics, long-standing confrontations and domestic disputes, police said.

 

The only murder without explanation was at Pearl Nightclub, 445 W. Wetmore Road, where a man was shot and killed and four others were injured in front of a crowd of a few hundred on Aug. 15.

 

The victim, Ronstadt said, was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

While the amount of homicides may be concentrated, Ronstadt postulated that most of the victims had been involved in “”increased-risk activities”” prior to their deaths.

 

Ronstadt said that most of the victims “”may well not have become victims were it not for choices in their life.””

 

He had some advice for UA students looking to stay safe both on and off campus.

 

“”Stay away from gangs,”” Ronstadt said. “”Gang-related activity definitely puts you at a higher risk.””

 

The chances for violent activity are also raised when alcohol is involved.

 

“”With the abundance of alcohol and even controlled substances, the potential of escalation is really there,”” Ronstadt said. “”A lot of violent crime arises from a drug deal gone bad.””

 

For now, Night and his roommates are taking their own precautions as a result of the violence.

 

“”We’re being more careful and watchful at the house,”” Night said. “”We’ve checked the locks and don’t open the door for strangers.””

 

Since January there have been 33 murders in Tucson. This figure is already higher than the 32 murders committed during all of 2009.

 

However, the city average for the last 15 years has been 50.8 murders per year.

 

“”Hey, it’s Tucson. Anything can happen,”” Night said.

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