On average, gunfire can be heard two or three times a week in Fort Pierce, usually at night in the northwest neighborhoods. Often someone is shot. Sometimes the person dies. Witnesses are reluctant to talk to police. They are afraid of being targeted as snitches. Or they just don’t want to get involved. From January 1st to June 10th, there were 41 reports of gunfire in the city, according to TCPalm.com. Nineteen people were hit. As of June 10th, seven were killed and one died several days later. In all of 2013, seven were killed by guns in Fort Pierce.
The victims are usually young black men. The shootings often seem gang related. Earlier this month, an 18-year-old man was shot while riding in the back seat of a car. He later died in the hospital. In April, two brothers, 20 and 19, were shot to death in their home. Police patrols have been beefed up. The city is seeking a federal grant for a program to reach young men before they are lost to gang life. Police need the help of residents. Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers, supported by the state attorney general’s office, offers a reward for information about a shooting or other crime. To learn more, go to tcwatch.org. A tipster can remain anonymous. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.