By Jim Sciutto, CNN
(CNN) — Elected officials, law enforcement officials and gang leaders on Wednesday condemned the murder of a security guard at the Wayne County Government Complex in Detroit, calling the incident “disgusting” and calling for increased funding to combat violence in the city.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig and Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy announced an $80,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the slaying.
Deputy Chief Teresa House identified the victim as 37-year-old Ronell Wilson. She said Wilson died Monday when Wilson and someone who identifies as Chauncey Owens walked up behind him and shot him in the back of the head. She said Owens has been a suspect in at least four other murders.
Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Tuesday that the city’s homicide rate is up 57% in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2017. The Detroit metropolitan area has 602 murders this year, compared to 505 for the first quarter of 2017.
“We are having too many deaths, and too many criminals who need to be locked up,” Duggan said. “These citizens do not deserve to live under conditions like this.”
The two-dozen people interviewed at a press conference Wednesday repeatedly called on the government to invest more money into law enforcement.
“Just because you’re a minority or a democrat or whatever does not mean the government should not do something to prevent this and bring people’s lives back,” said Patrycia Newbee, 33, whose aunt was murdered in 2012.
The murder of a security guard at Detroit’s Wayne County Government Complex was “disgusting,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “This violence has to stop.” https://t.co/UnH3UMI5Yk pic.twitter.com/TsM8cHbuDq — CNN (@CNN) April 3, 2018
Detroit resident Kenny Smith, 40, said the most important thing the city can do is come up with a “reinforcing” message to keep criminals in line.
“We’re giving them, giving them money in the city. We’ve had enough. We had enough four years ago,” he said. “We need the kids to not get involved. Put the guns down and just be a productive citizen. We’re not talking about reparations. We’re talking about how this affects us as a community. We’re not talking about more laws. We’re talking about money. Let’s find a way to invest more money in this city.”
Duggan has said the city’s murder rate “is still dramatically below what we experienced just two years ago” when the city was hit by a rash of killings. But he said the increase this year is “clearly unacceptable.”
Both Duggan and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans pledged to cut down on the city’s crime rate. They said they would work with other city leaders to “make sure that we’re not pushing this down to the suburbs to handle.”
Duggan spoke at the same time as a meeting between Duggan and public safety and criminal justice officials from other Michigan communities and U.S. lawmakers in Washington.
“Public safety should not be an excuse for other people,” Dlodlo said. “We need everybody to work together. All of you can work together to deal with crime in Detroit.”
He said he would enlist “partners on the federal level” to help the city combat the crime rate.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and three members of the Congressional Black Caucus announced Wednesday that they would be urging the Justice Department to focus resources on the violence in Detroit.
“This increased violence is unacceptable, and Washington needs to step up and take action to stem the bloodshed that continues to plague our city,” Warren said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, announced he is drafting a bill that would give local police departments federal grant money to help them hire more officers.
Duggan said the city has gone after about 1