LMPD touts arrests made by newly formed gang and drug task force
Louisville Metro Police say a suspected killer, an arsonist and a rapist have been taken off the streets in a massive sweep.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Police say a suspected killer, an arsonist and a rapist have been taken off the streets in a massive sweep.
The news came Monday morning as police provided the first progress report for Louisville's newly formed gang task force. Police say they nabbed 82 suspects in just two weeks -- including four people on the city's "Most Wanted" list -- and they say they've taken 11 guns and more than 13 pounds of marijuana off the streets.
Officers picked up Christopher Higgs and Jordan Dean on gun and drug trafficking charges.
Dean was arrested for road rage. Court records say the victim was beaten unconscious, severely injured and left in the middle of the street. Dean also had six outstanding warrants involving drugs and stolen guns.
Kenneth Brightman is a known rapist -- convicted on eight counts of sexual abuse -- who was out of compliance with the sex offender registry. Police say he was back trolling for victims online.
Karen Gains, 22, is a suspected arsonist police say was lighting a building on fire with people inside.
"We know the area of violence is concentrated in a small area of the city," said Amy Hess, special agent in charge with the FBI. "That area is made up of hardworking and honest people who deserve to live in a place where their kids can play safely, where they can attend community events and not worry about whether they will make it."
LMPD launched the gang and drug task force at the beginning of January, partnering with state and federal prosecutors, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents.
Law enforcement calls this task force LMINTEL, for "Louisville Metro Intelligence."
But the increased focus on west Louisville has some fearing harassment.
"They think there might be unfair profiling connected to it," said community activist Christopher 2X.
Also, the additional arrests present a problem for the local jail. Louisville Metro Corrections is bursting at the seams, at about 500 inmates above capacity. There is real concern that some bad guys will get out from behind bars, released on home incarceration because there is simply no place to put them. Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney Thomas Wine urge Kentucky's Corrections Department and Governor Matt Bevin to remove state inmates from local custody. Wine said, "They need to get these prisoners that we're holding out of our facilities so we can place these people who are a danger to our community into those cells."
The formation of a gang and drug task force follows a record year of violence, with 118 murders and 500 shootings in 2016.
But LMPD Chief Steve Conrad says these 82 arrests represent the easy ones: the so-called "low-hanging fruit" -- and for the task force to truly work, it needs one more partner at the table.
"We can never be truly successful without the community's help and support," said Chief Conrad. "As always, we need info from the community to make arrests in our cases. We need their support and involvement and we need them to join us in taking a stand against the violent crime that plagues our community. I am convinced that by working together, we can make a significant difference."
"It used to be every neighbor heard or saw something involved in solving that case -- and now the next-door neighbor heard and saw nothing," said Wine. "That's not going to solve this problem."
We also learned today about an arrest in connection to a 2015 murder. David Fiorilli is the suspect -- but police refused to give any info on the victim or the circumstance.
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