While researching, I realized the high crimes in Asheville actually don’t appear to be decreasing. The homicide rate, although down from the previous year, isn’t being acknowledged lower thanks to police efforts as the first people on the scenes to assist in lifesaving techniques to many gunshot victims!
What I noted was far more shooting incidents and victims who survived due to quick responses by the Police Department.
A North Carolina new law now allows prosecution of the drug dealers who sell the poisons that kill victims in North Carolina. Infant fentanyl deaths are also making the news, as well as a new tranquilizer drug, xylazine. This new drug causes necrotic tissue in its drug user victims. Reports of drug users of xylazine have to get amputations after using the deadly drug.
Here are just a few news items about crime in the Asheville area.
On Dec. 20, one injured victim was discovered by police injured by gunshots in the arm. Officers applied lifesaving techniques to save the man’s life before EMS arrived and took the man to the hospital, where he was attended to, then later released.
Witnesses reported the gunfire came from outside the residence of the victim, reported on Myrtle Street. The shooting was not a few bullets, but a reported total of 55 shell casings recovered at the scene of the crime.
Vehicles totaling four were also damaged by the bullet fire. It’s miraculous with the amounts of shots fired there was only one injury.
Days later, a double homicide happened in Asheville on Dec. 23. This is reported as 2023’s seventh and eighth homicides in Asheville.
The incident was reported to have occurred in the New Leicester Highway 300 block at 11:30 p.m. The police were called in by a report of a man shot and arrived to find a male deceased inside a business. The identity of one homicide victim was released as Chase Christian VanLeeuwen. Police are again urging anyone with information to call their tip line.
The second homicide victim of the New Leicester Highway shooting was revealed to be Marckia Ornette Jones.
On Christmas Eve, a man was shot at a gas station in Asheville. Witnesses interviewed reported multiple gunshots around 9:20 p.m. at the location of 414 Depot St. that is the gas station Green’s Mini Mart. When police arrived, they found that the man had been shot several times. Police provided lifesaving techniques until the EMS arrived.
Regarding local fentanyl deaths, an infant fentanyl death happened Sept. 22, 2022, and a year later, the mother has been reported arrested and charged with manslaughter. Fentanyl was a contributor to the infant’s death of toxicity, along with blunt-force trauma.
These incidents are just a few of many, which also include fentanyl distribution, overdose deaths, murders, multiple car break-ins, and bomb threats at a local synagogue. All of the above shows me there’s plenty of crime going on in Asheville, and in certain crime criteria, it’s escalating.
I want to thank the Asheville Police Department that responds to these incidents, despite their history of lack of funding, lack of community support and lack of more than enough staff.
— Kristen Burns-Warren
Editor’s note: This letter has been updated from the print version.