Sheriff Confirms Bounties, Contract Killings; Plea Issued For Public’s Help

February 26, 2020

As law enforcement, commissioners and community members made a strong plea to the public to cooperate in investigations, Sheriff David Morgan confirmed Tuesday that several of the recent shootings in Escambia County involved a bounty on the victims.

There have been 20 shooting incidents this year, eight of which were fatal and about a dozen injuries.

“Is it really worth all the pain you are inflicting? At the end of the day, I would say, young man you are going to get caught. You are in a battle that you cannot win,” Lonnie Wesley, pastor of Greater Little Rock Baptist Church, said to those involved in the shootings. “This is not a game. Get to someone you can trust. Stop this. Let’s get yourself over here; turn yourself in. Stop hurting your family.”

“They are contract killings,” Morgan said of some of the shootings. “This is a particularly stressing thing.”

Morgan stated the ECSO often gets little or no cooperation from victims, family members and witnesses as he urged the public to come forward with information.

“We can’t place a deputy on every street corner. We can’t place a deputy in everyone’s home. Therefore, without the community’s support, we will fail,” Morgan said. “We are dealing with a level of inactivity now in our community that is the most distressing part of this.”

He people with security system videos are refusing to turn them over, and even families of victims are refusing to talk.

“It’s just unbelievable what we are dealing with right now,” the sheriff said.

“We get zero assistance from neighbors we know have cameras,” Chief Deputy Chip Simmons said. “We go to the parents of these victims….what we get is zero. We get nothing. We get a door slammed in our face and they say ‘go investigate it on your own’. We go down the street a little farther to people that were standing right there when it took place, and we get nothing. We get zero.”

Despite that, he said the ECSO is still aggressively working to solve the cases.

During an hour-long press conference, officials said perpetrators are becoming younger and younger, something State Attorney Bill Eddins said is happening throughout America.

“We’re praying that it’s not what will become the new norm in Escambia County with our young people,” Morgan said, adding that most of the people involved in recent criminal activity are age 15-19.

“Violent crime is being committed by younger and younger people,” Eddins said. “One of the primary reasons is America is awash in drugs.”

He said there are organized groups of juveniles that “routinely and constantly” burglarize vehicles looking for guns. The State Attorney’s Office is currently prosecuting 17 co-defendants, most between the ages of 15-19, in 168 cases where they were looking for guns, including the theft of one gun used in an armed carjacking.

Eddins said he has an aggressive approach to transfer violent or repeat youth offenders out of the juvenile justice system into adult court.

“My heart bleeds. Too many times, the lives that are lost are people that I know,” Escambia County Commissioner Lumon May said. “That’s why this is very emotional and very serious to me.”

“There is not one government official, one elected official that will ever be able to come in and solve the ills of a community without the community participating. These are our children; they are our responsibility. It’s our community. And together, we really can stand and make a difference,” May said.

Images for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Comments

40 Responses to “Sheriff Confirms Bounties, Contract Killings; Plea Issued For Public’s Help”

  1. Tabby on February 28th, 2020 6:47 pm

    The government is to blame for its own problems. All they want is MORE CONTROL OVER YOUR LIFE. Cant discipline your kids, govt. did that and countless other things to further degrade this country. Sorry some of you don’t get it however, there is a cabal of people within our government who have an agenda to erode society. To destroy America. You don’t and cant grasp it because you still hold on to your parents and grandparents nostalgic views of patriotism. That is LONG GONE sorry to say. Wake up, the government does not care about you or your family. For those aware, your ready for whats coming.

  2. just a fact on February 28th, 2020 10:49 am

    common denominator in most of these young people doing these crimes. No father in the house.

  3. DonnaPate on February 28th, 2020 10:41 am

    Stop putting uniforms on pigs and the public may become supportive.

  4. David on February 27th, 2020 7:43 pm

    @ Obie1 …so being you dont like it..run for office..put up or shut up, the citizens will make an exception to your credentials , BAG BOY

  5. David on February 27th, 2020 7:40 pm

    The same people, over and over again cry about crime being rampant, yet when asked for help by Law Enforcement, oh lord no…dont tell the man anything..keep your bigoted mouth shut and cry some more.
    When you cover these thugs as the community, the parents, you condone what is happening.
    Stop calling the ECSO and crying then clam up..you know who you are.
    The ECSO dont have the answer to the problem you as the community and parents created in your own livingroom
    Oh, but he was such a good boy, he was going to be a teacher, he was getting ready to get his diploma ..WAS
    So cry me a river to the thugs you created…hide them like rats in your house.
    Keep your moutj shut and dont tell the man anything…RIGHT

  6. Skip on February 26th, 2020 9:41 pm

    Love him or hate him Sheriff Morgan always gets his man woman or juvenile delinquent. Even if it takes a you tube video! I just hope Chip Simmons can do the same if elected? This man woman or child is playing a dangerous game for even trying these kind of acts of violence in Escambia County! These deputies shoot back to protect the people! Thank you for your service! Keep up the good work.

  7. Obie1 on February 26th, 2020 9:15 pm

    Your right Steve, this IS an election year. If you think Chip Simmons will be any better than Gen Morgan you are sadly mistaken! Do NOT VOTE for Simmons! Drain the swamp of the ECSO!

  8. Anita on February 26th, 2020 7:39 pm

    Does anyone think that the violence and murders shown on tv, videos games, movies, etc makes it easier to kill ? It all seems so easy…and there’s no punishment or consequences. Lots don’t know the difference between real and fantasy and punishment for their actions are not the solution…they’re already overcrowded and have gangs there too. It looks like we’re backed into a corner with no real solutions.

  9. Isn’t it Ironic on February 26th, 2020 7:31 pm

    frustrated bc we are turning our heads and doing nothing…ummmmm….sounds similar to how heads are turned from the behavior of the ECSO staff.

  10. Bill on February 26th, 2020 7:05 pm

    It’s not the Deputies IT IS the leadership, refusing to work with other agencies and not accepting help from the state is inexcusable. Really doesn’t show well his ego needs to be put aside and let’s do what is right to start to correct this.

  11. J.Larry Seale on February 26th, 2020 6:15 pm

    This sound like Chicago gone
    south………..

  12. bob c on February 26th, 2020 6:11 pm

    Local TV News did interview of man who was previously involved in crimes here and did prison time. He was very well disguised for his own safety.
    Said that the crimes are being done by younger kids, mostly males, and the degree of violence seems to be of no consequence to them.
    Was asked if $500 would buy a “HIT” on someone, no matter the reason. the answer was “Yes, it would be enough”.
    When our society has fallen to this low level then we are ALL at Risk.
    No wonder the GOOD folks who may have information are afraid to share, even thru the Crime Stopper line.
    Crime Stopper and Informant info only comes when the one calling can have Total Sureness that their identity is completely hidden. Have to have faith in the law system and LEO’s.

  13. Hold on a minute... on February 26th, 2020 5:41 pm

    I think blaming the Sheriffs Office for any of this is just wrong. Its certainly not the deputies fault. Your talking about a agency that is very understaffed and has a major retention problem. Law Enforcement is short everywhere in the country. Hard to get people to volunteer for the career considering how low the wages are and let’s not forget, you are everyone’s enemy. While LEOs have a lot of respect in the community as a whole, it’s not the respectable folks they are dealing with day to day. It’s the folks that are violent and hateful most of the time. As far as gun violence is concerned, there is no way to predict it. LEOs might stumble onto a act in progress but it’s not likely. Also, people in these neighborhoods are scared to death of being seen talking to a cop let alone some finding out they gave the cops evidence. So, I’d give the deputies a break and put the blame where it belongs, criminals and their unpredictable, savage behavior.

  14. Willis on February 26th, 2020 5:37 pm

    It is never good to have all these people being shot. But I think you have to remember those being shot are doing the same things as the ones doing the shooting. They just didn’t get their gun first or missed.

  15. E on February 26th, 2020 12:34 pm

    I agree with John 57, they don’t mind going to prison, they have a good time. take away the weights the tv the outside time the air condition make their diet water and bread no visitation very little time out of their cell, basically in a nut shell make prison horrible and the word will get out that this aint no place you want to go and they will think twice but right now its like a resort for them, so do nothing about it and crime will continue to increase

  16. steve on February 26th, 2020 12:15 pm

    WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE THE TASK FORCE HELP?

  17. Olin Schultz on February 26th, 2020 12:10 pm

    How many of us remember coming in at dark, washing up and sitting down as a family for dinner? After dinner, we watched shows like Hee Haw, or Wonderful World of Disney and we talked to our parents and siblings about the world and how to fix it. When we did chore. When you got in trouble at a neighbors house, their mom or dad spanked us and then we got it again when we got home. We knew our neighbors who lived next door or 5 miles away. Robinhood said it best. Let’s turn the old time clock to today! No one knows your neighbor. Of course there are those that don’t spank their kids. ( ask mine if they got their hello torn up?) You let your kids leave so you can get peace and quiet. A spanking would cure that! Our kids and grandkids get what they want when they ask for it or they go steal it and hide it in the woods or at lil Johnny’s house. Society has made this problem and I’m afraid that there is no turning back the clock to fix it. Our society has revolved into a Wild West of sorts because WE have made the kids what they are today! I am proud of all three of mine and I am sure most parents are but…. I don’t think the change will ever happen in our lifetime to get a handle on this epidemic. God Help Us All!

  18. Ace on February 26th, 2020 12:02 pm

    This is a fact not rumor or speculation, FHP offered to bring their Criminal interdiction units from all over the state to do a detail to help take guns and drugs off the streets in Pensacola . The wonderful sheriff of Escambia turned it down and said no not gonna happen . He didn’t want to look bad with FHP coming in and cleaning the streets up. As soon as the #2 becomes the #1 in Escambia county you will see more proactive patrols and agency assist to come help .

  19. steve on February 26th, 2020 12:00 pm

    as i see it the sheriff turned down help from the FEDs and wanted five million more to do his job. this sheriff is re-active not pro-active, he wants the citizens to do the work.

    THIS IS ELECTION YEAR. TIME FOR A CHANGE.

  20. Jennifer on February 26th, 2020 11:50 am

    ROBINHOOD….Not everyone that goes to church is God loving, law abiding citizen. Some churches have some of the most corrupt people in the world. I can do at home the same thing that churches were meant for.

  21. Jennifer on February 26th, 2020 11:35 am

    I kind of get why no one wants to talk…they’re scared. You’ve got to offer protection to people if you want info. This crap is no joke. Surely you’ve heard “Snitches get stitches”, but in these kind of cases it can get you and your family killed.

  22. Tc on February 26th, 2020 10:15 am

    Chris hit the nail on the head. Society has bred this trash into the children today. They learn from what they see being accepted. We have Big companies such as Pepsi, Nike etc using trashy celebrities with absolutely no morals as role models for children & it makes me sick. Can’t even watch TV anymore without seeing a bunch of garbage . & it’s only getting worse

  23. Shannon on February 26th, 2020 10:05 am

    Is there anyway these videos from security cameras can be subpoenaed? If this would help the police catch the person or people involved with these shootings especially if it was someone killed or hurt in your family why wouldn’t you. I know that you feel like this may put you in danger but there are ways you can get it to the police without anyone knowing it was you. Mail it to them or take it to a meeting spot. That’s the only way they will be caught. I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t want them off the streets.

  24. OLD MAN on February 26th, 2020 9:50 am

    @ Robinhood ,just sayin, right.

    You all are so correct, SPARE THE ROD SPOIL THE CHILD,
    I swatted my grandson (age 8) on his butt yesterday, for throwing rocks at his sister.
    He turned around and told me he was going to call the police for child abuse!!!!!!!!!

    Because my TEACHER says you can’t hit me.

    If I would have said that to my parents or grand parents, they would have watted me again.

    GIVE CONTROL BACK TO PARENTS AND AUTHORITIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. John 57 on February 26th, 2020 9:33 am

    Prison is no longer a deterrent. It’s just a place to go do more drugs, kill and be an thug. Which is cool to the younger generation. You get arrested for disciplining your kids. So then they become cool inmates!

  26. Bill on February 26th, 2020 9:14 am

    We need proactive law enforcement especially in the county it is time to have a professional law enforcement officer running the Sheriff’s office not a politician.

  27. Chris Paul on February 26th, 2020 9:13 am

    I grew up in Pcola.
    Basically its just like any other crime infested city now.
    It will NEVER get better.
    The cops will control it to certain areas.
    The rap crap, violent vids, gangsta influencers , cop killer vids ,etc will only embolden the wanna be gang bangers and thugs.
    Welcome to the libertine 2020 culture..
    The ship has sailed.. Lock and load

  28. mmmhmm on February 26th, 2020 9:04 am

    Just in full disclosure, this is also coming from the same Sheriff that “confirmed” the Hartung murders must have been do to “witchcraft” and that it was because of the “blue moon”. Contract killings are very rare! Is it gang related?… probably… but I highly doubt we have a bunch of young hired hitmen out there running around.

  29. sam on February 26th, 2020 8:59 am

    if something was actually DONE with the criminals people might step up. they know if the kids are under age they are back on the street and coming after the people that told on them. if they are of age the same thing will occur. nothing is done and the community is looking over their shoulder all the time.

  30. CW on February 26th, 2020 8:57 am

    @Robinhood

    These kids came out of the ghetto, so I’m sure they got whipped plenty (probably for the wrong reasons). The problem is a lack of parenting, these kids were never taught to respect other people. It’s all about ME ME ME!

  31. Niknak50 on February 26th, 2020 8:52 am

    “All nations that forget God shall be turned into hell”
    Have we as a nation forgotten God?
    Are we living in hell?

    You decide

  32. Right!! on February 26th, 2020 8:43 am

    The ones stating this is a problem that started with the raising of the child are correct!
    Most of the parents I know worry more about their Amazon order getting to the house on time or what their fake Facebook lives look like rather than know/care where their children are after school, who the kids are hanging out with, or what they’re up to. We all need to stoo worrying about foolish things and start worrying about our children before it’s too late.

  33. Anne on February 26th, 2020 7:31 am

    Humdinger of a case.
    Hired Guns? Bet most of us local citizens – who’re not writing a C-rated movie script – think the street punks are Taking Care of Bidness all on their own.
    Gangs, Drugs, Money, Thefts, Murders, Random Shootings all about owning the turf and keeping the competition out of their cash box.
    Next thing we’ll hear is of Mexican Mafia and Ninjas.
    LEO, our hearts and Prayers go out to you and Thank You for doing your job under often terrible circumstances.
    We ALL look forward to new leadership.
    God Bless us ALL and preserve us from the evil doers on our streets.

  34. just sayin on February 26th, 2020 7:19 am

    This really is a shame of what our county is turning into. If you look at the face book pages of some of the kids who are featured in stories on NE you just shake your head and realize that we are doomed. I wonder how did they turn out so bad? You read different comments from different post and you see the same conversations . They all seem to mention a friend who is locked up who will be getting out soon. A lot of them are all posing with drug money they are proud of. They all talk with a lingo that screams I am a thug of the worst kind. It really is scary to think that these thugs live among us and are walking our streets with us. God help us.

  35. Robinhood on February 26th, 2020 7:16 am

    All this trouble they are mentioning STARTS AT HOME. Parents can no longer whip their kids to teach them they need to take responsibility for their actions and there are consequences if you do not do the right thing. Hell, I was raised up in the 60’s and 70’s when getting your butt tore up got our attention and taught us to take responsibility for our own actions. My parents would whip our butts then put us on restriction for quite some time to make sure we understood what we did was wrong. Parents DO NOT take their kids to CHURCH anymore, they are riding bikes in the street when I pull out of my drive way to attend Church myself. It is SAD. The Government is the biggest problem because parents are afraid to take action and whip their children for fear of going to jail and that right there is the biggest mistake and problem and why the kids act like they do. Heck, Back in the day IF I knew I could not be whipped or get spanked I would have ended up just like these kids today. I want to say ” I AM THANKFUL FOR EVERY WHIPPING I EVER RECEIVED”. It has made me a better person and it did not kill me and I seem to have turned out pretty good I would like to say. Bring back paddling in schools since they are having problems retaining teachers. I would not be a teacher in these schools these days unless I knew I could jack the kids up when they are out of line and disruptive. GO TO CHURCH and turn your lives over to the LORD and you will have a much better life in the end. Trust me, It works.

  36. Bigblock345 on February 26th, 2020 7:04 am

    Start fueling up the boats. Wake up the dogs. It’s past time to round up the trash and ship them out of here.

  37. JTV on February 26th, 2020 6:58 am

    Sit quietly while your neighborhood rots… genius!

  38. Clyde on February 26th, 2020 6:07 am

    If the victims, families and community don’t want to help solve these crimes so be it put the in the cold case stack. I bet if a officer was in the community arresting somebody everybody sees that and gets a video

  39. Enough is enough on February 26th, 2020 4:58 am

    Like it’s being said it’s the community that needs to talk. It’s ways you can and no one would know. It’s sad. Don’t wait until it happens to your child to ask for help. Let us come together and help the police catch these kids. We really need prayers. We as believers need to stop fighting against each other in these church’s and come together and pray. My heart hurts to keep hearing all of these. Now s the time to speak up and help police. Help our community.

  40. Chris on February 26th, 2020 4:57 am

    Violent rappers. Violent vids. Glorifying gangsta lifestyle. Disrespect the police ( that they somehow managed to call).
    Related?? Nah.
    I would be judging.. Right?





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