OPELIKA, Ala. — Opelika police say the man killed in Tuesday’s shooting on Edmon Avenue was specifically targeted by his attacker.
Captain Shane Healey says the victim, 23-year-old Jaquavious Montrell Strickland, was also shot in the head September 15, but survived.
Healey says Opelika police have been investigating several shootings on Edmon Avenue over recent years and in each case, police believe the victims were also targeted.
Investigators say during the search connected to Strickland’s death, officers found several people in possession of numerous handguns and rifles in the Samford Way Community.
The report on the search says a total of eight firearms – five handguns and three AR-15 rifles – have been confiscated.
Charges have not been filed at this time, as the cases and their relationship, remain under investigation, Healey says.
He also adds police do not believe the community at large is at risk.
In response to Tuesday’s murder, members of the community have responded to ensure the safety of all those in the neighborhood. Ward 2 City Council Candidate, Oscar Penn and others initiated a petition focused at Mayor Gary Fuller, Opelika City Council and the apartment complex’ owners, Dabbs Ventures LLC.
The goal of the petition is to have the apartments either renovated, a more thorough screening process for residents enacted or torn down
Penn said he is concerned for the families that live in the area, but he adds that the apartments are the only reason the police come to that neighborhood.
“We’ve had three killings out there, and it’s at that one apartment complex,” Penn said. That alone should set off alarm bells for our entire city council and mayor to go out there and see what is going on. If they can not come in and give those people a safe place to live, we ask they tear those buildings down.”
Penn added that the young men losing their lives at the current rate is taking away the purpose that the Lord intended for them, creating a void in the community that cannot be refilled. Even though Penn does not live in that neighborhood, he said people cannot be ignorant to what has happened. He added that even though the violence is not on his doorstep, it could end up being on his doorstep.
Ward 2 City Council Candidate Tiffany Gibson-Pitts is pushing for a neighborhood watch in the area. She said she also reached out the Department of Human Resources and East Alabama Mental Health due to the fact that some of the residents are served by those organizations and their living conditions are deplorable.Gibson-Pitts agrees that something needs to be done with the apartment complexes.
“They deserve to feel safe,” Gibson-Pitts said. “They pay taxes. They pay their mortgages. However, they’re coming home and some afternoons, and their street is filled with police cars and crime scene tape and no one should have to live that way.”
News Three spoke to someone who lives in the neighborhood. This person said they did not think the area would be this violent when they first moved in, and they will be leaving the neighborhood once they find a new living situation.
“I’m up all night listening to every sound, every car that goes by I’m listening to them,” the citizen said. “I’m scared and really cautious.”
Anyone with questions regarding the petition can contact Oscar Penn at 334-663-5498.
Anyone with any information on this incident is asked to contact the Opelika Police Department Investigative Services Division at 334-705-5220 or the Secret Witness Hotline at 334-745-8665.