City official: Black on black murders out of control

Mike Mason

City official: Black on black murders out of control

CREATED Feb. 2, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb. 2, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Emotions running high following another murder in Fort Myers, near the Dunbar community. At least one city leader saying black on black crimes are out of control.

The murder rate in Fort Myers is higher than it's been in years and city officials say police desperately need to reach out to the African-American community for help.

People who knew 26-year old Travis Burton were shocked to hear he was shot to death inside this home near Dunbar. One woman says he was visiting his sister when someone rushed in, firing off multiple rounds, "She had two kids herself who were there, it could have been her two children that the bullet could have hit, you know, anything could have happened."

This neighborhood is packed with children and parents are worried. We found another woman who claims she knows exactly who killed Burton but she and others are keeping quiet.

Mike Mason: "Why doesn't the community come forward and help police?
Woman: "Police need to put effort and trust into the community, you know they backstab, they're back stabbing, they don't do nothing for the community."  

Residents say Burton's murder was an act of retaliation by someone he hurt. So could clues to his killer be found in Burton's own criminal history? He has been arrested for crimes including aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Councilman Johnny Streets says, "You wonder why, we go to the fact that why is it that it seems like it is only black on black crime. Black boys killing black boys. Black men killing black men."

City officials are concerned about the murder rate in Fort Myers which has tripled in the past two years.  
Councilman Johnny Streets says police especially need to put more focus on the City's African-American communities.

Streets tells Fox 4,"Well, black people kill black people because some of them are not allowed to kill white people because the consequences are different."

According to police Chief Doug Baker, between 2000 and 2011 there have been 133 cases of murder in Fort Myers. 39% of those were black on black crimes. 62% of murder suspects were black while 16% were white.  But black or white, everyone agrees the killing needs to stop,

One woman near the Dunbar community says, "I want to see the violence stop which it's not but you know I want to see people in jail doing time for what they're doing."

In the past 11 years, the Fort Myers police say they’ve solved an average of 57% of homicides.
That's another reason city officials feel officers need to work more on solving crimes by building bonds with the community.