ST. LOUIS • Five scenes. Six victims. Twenty-four hours in St. Louis.
The bloodshed began Sunday and lasted through early Monday. The victims included three women and three men in their 20s and 30s. At 1 p.m. Monday, Police Chief John Hayden and Mayor Lyda Krewson gathered to have a news conference at police headquarters pleading for the public’s help to solve the crimes.
“Going into Friday afternoon, we were 25 homicides down compared to last year, so we were trending in the right direction,” Hayden said. “Now we are 19 homicides behind last year.”
That puts the city at 130 homicides so far this year.
“To have just one homicide is concerning, but to have six so close together is very alarming,” Hayden said. “It challenges our resources, but we have the investigators we need to solve them.”
Krewson added: “It does not seem like these are random situations.”
Hayden said at least five of the six homicides were “drug-related,” but he wouldn’t elaborate. There were drugs present at two of the scenes. The police chief said heroin and marijuana are primarily the drugs involved in the city’s homicides — more than half of which are connected to drugs, he said.
At least two of the victims knew their assailants, police said.
And family members told police that two of the victims killed about 45 minutes apart were boyfriend and girlfriend.
Police do not believe any of the killings were random. And, aside from the murders of the couple, police also do not believe any of the murders were related.
Detectives have made an arrest in only one, which happened on the city’s north side.
Hayden said patrol plans would be adjusted to have a heavier police presence in the area as they always are following a spate of violence.
“We’re always concerned that folks will want to take matters into their own hands,” Hayden said. “But if people only share information about these crimes with themselves, it makes it very difficult for us to solve them.”
Four of the six victims were killed Sunday:
7:20 a.m.: Officers responded to the 4200 block of Evans Avenue in the Vandeventer neighborhood and found a woman’s body inside a vehicle that had crashed. Police on Monday identified her as Whitney Whitman, 33, of the 5200 block of Lexington Avenue. She had an apparent gunshot wound and died at the scene, police say.
11:46 a.m.: Louis Bishop was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds in the 3000 block of Marcus Avenue in the Kingsway East neighborhood. Bishop, 22, lived in the 6100 block of Sherry Avenue.
12:30 p.m.: Tamella Buchanan, 25, was found shot to death in a vehicle parked in the 2800 block of Taylor Avenue, near St. Louis Avenue in the Greater Ville neighborhood. Police say she lived in the 1600 block of North Kingshighway.
8:40 p.m.: Teon Buchanan, 23, was found with gunshot wounds unconscious and not breathing in a vehicle in the 900 block of Canaan Avenue. Police say he lived in the 1400 block of Selerno Drive in Pagedale. Police said the Buchanans are not relatives.
A short time later, officers got another call for a shooting in the 900 block of Harlan Avenue, where they found a 25-year-old man who had been shot in the hand and leg. He was taken to a hospital, where police say he was stable. Police say he is considered a suspect in the killing of Teon Buchanan.
Police say Teon Buchanan, the injured man and a second suspect, 22, who was arrested without incident, had argued inside the car before Buchanan was killed.
Violence continued into Monday.
6:26 a.m.: A man and a woman were found dead inside a car in the Fountain Park neighborhood.
Police were originally called to investigate a suspicious vehicle, but once there, they found the victims dead from gunshot wounds inside a black Chevrolet sedan with temporary tags in the 700 block of Euclid Avenue. The scene is near the FB San Remo Apartments.
Police have not yet released any additional information on that killing.
And about 3 p.m., a male victim was shot multiple times in an exchange of gunfire at the White Castle at 2009 Hebert Street north of downtown, police said. The victim was hit in the upper chest but was expected to survive.
Police are asking anyone with information about the crimes to call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477. Information also can be submitted online at stlrcs.org. The organization pays cash rewards for information leading to an arrest.
Kim Bell and David Carson of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.