Police Chief Discusses Another Violent Weekend in Stockton

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STOCKTON -- Three separate homicides in three days -- and only one arrest.

Stockton's spike in violent crime over the weekend, and the year so far, is concerning to the community and to Chief of Police Eric Jones.

"One or two homicides for our community is too many," Jones said. "To have three over a span of a few days is very alarming."

The Stockton Police Department says officers responded to more than 3,500 calls for service over the weekend.

"It proved to be an incredibly busy, unfortunate weekend in Stockton," Jones said.

Sunday, investigators responded to reports of a man shot at a homeless encampment near East Hazelton Avenue and El Dorado Street, less than a mile from the police department.

Suspected shooter Damar Pittman was arrested and booked into jail.

Aside from homicides, other violent crime saw an uptick over the weekend.

Police arrested a 17-year-old they say fired a shot at officers on Sunday as he ran from a traffic stop. The bullet struck a nearby home, but no officers were injured.

"We just want the community to know we're working hard. We're working with you and we are not going to tolerate this type of violence both in our community as well as upon our police officers that are out protecting the community," Jones said.

Jones says he's calling in reinforcements from other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to help curb the violence.

"It's a combination of all sorts of staff, some the community may see, some the community may not see," Jones said. "It's about making our community safer but also solving these crimes."

The chief is also calling on the community for help.

"The first part is we need to continue to develop trust within the community so they feel comfortable coming to us for assistance and for solving these crimes. The other part is we take anonymous tips," he said.

Despite the recent spike, Jones says his department is doing a good job responding and believes in his policing strategies.

The police department says officers recover anywhere from 800 to 1,000 guns off the streets each year, including the duffle bag with a loaded AK-47, a loaded 60-round drum magazine and a military-issued ballistic vest confiscated Sunday.

"We're taking very, very, dangerous, illegal firearms off the streets. So really, who knows what amount of violence was thwarted through those arrests," Jones said. "And I just thank every day the police officers that go out there and do this very challenging and dangerous job, put their lives on the line for this community."

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