GREENSBORO — On Wednesday and Thursday, police investigated homicides near the Greensboro Urban Ministry and at Four Seasons Town Centre.
Two weeks ago, police responded to three homicides within a 24-hour period.
And since Jan. 1, 13 homicides have occurred within city limits — six coming roughly in the last month.
“Violent crime in our city has risen,” Chief Wayne Scott said on Friday.
During a news conference, he asked for the community’s help in putting a stop to the violence.
That plea came less than 24 hours after a Greensboro man was gunned down after walking out of the Four Seasons mall — the second homicide at the shopping center within three months.
As of Friday, the assailants in both the mall shooting and the one near the Urban Ministry were still at large.
“That is alarming to us and every citizen we have that our numbers have increased that much,” Scott said.
Homicides this year have occurred throughout the city, but Thursday’s shooting at Four Seasons was shocking to many because it happened in such a public place — and in broad daylight.
Early reports indicated that a gold-colored sedan pulled up to the mall about 2:15 p.m. and shots were fired at 34-year-old Sherrod Maurice Crum.
However, video from mall security cameras presented during the news conference showed two men running out of the mall moments before Crum was gunned down.
“This is an investigation that we’re working hard on,” Capt. Nathaniel Davis said.
According to eyewitnesses, Crum and his assailant argued before he was shot.
Davis said Friday it’s unclear how well Crum knew his assailant, but investigators don’t believe the shooting was drug- or gang-related.
“Early indications are that there was some type of dispute,” Davis said. “There was some interaction between our victim and the person who shot him.”
Paramedics took Crum, who was struck by at least one bullet, to an area hospital, where he died.
The surveillance video showed two younger black men with shoulder-length dreadlocks run through the mall toward an exit near the JCPenney store, where Crum would leave moments later.
One of the men was wearing a white shirt with black letters and dark pants, police said. The other was wearing a white shirt with two-tone sleeves and dark pants.
“We believe the shooting happened close to the time we see the two persons of interest running out the exit,” Davis said.
Thursday’s shooting happened almost in the exact spot where Westley Tyler Tugman, 33, of Lenoir was shot and killed Feb. 18. Tugman and his niece had just left the mall when someone approached and shot him in the chest.
“We know that the overwhelming majority of people who have been involved and victimized in these crimes in the last few months have had lifestyles that have led to some of the issues they’ve been involved in,” Scott said. “I realize because of that fact it is difficult to get people to talk to us.”
Take the victim of Wednesday’s shooting near the Urban Ministry. Darrell Lee Sisk Jr., 28, has a lengthy criminal history that includes larceny and assault convictions, according to N.C. Department of Public Safety records.
On Friday, Scott touched on why that shooting, like the one at Four Seasons, is troubling.
“This crime occurred during broad daylight,” he said. “We should all feel safe in our community and that’s what the Greensboro Police Department is striving to do.”
Police encourage anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 336-373-1000 or text badboyz to 274637. All calls are anonymous and could result in a reward of up to $2,000