Stuart police chief calls 3 shootings in 1 day 'unprecedented'
Some residents are concerned that the city of Stuart's small-town charm is diminishing after three shootings happened in less than 24 hours.
The city's police chief discussed the violence and what is next when it comes to keeping residents and visitors safe.
"In the last 26 years that I've been here at the police department, Dec. 3, 2022, was by far the most unprecedented day of my career here," Stuart Police Chief Joseph Tumminelli said.
The surge in shootings is definitely concerning.
"I do not want to have three shootings in one day: one accidental, one attempted and a double homicide," Tumminelli said. "I mean, it's just out of the ordinary for our city and our county."
Tumminelli said a teen was accidentally shot after finding a locked gun Saturday.
Later in the day, another man was shot at The Crossings at Indian Run apartment complex but is expected to be OK. The suspect in that case is still on the run.
Later, there was a double homicide at the Cedar Pointe condos where an elderly couple was shot and killed. The alleged shooter is in custody.
Tumminelli believes the shootings were unrelated.
"It's kind of frightening, kind of scary to think that something like that happens in such a quaint little town," one woman said.
There are fears that this smaller city is turning into a bigger, more violent area.
"I'm originally from Palm Beach County, and it's almost expected to hear it on the news every night or in the morning when you listen to the news, but you don’t hear it so much here," the woman said.
“The reason we came here was because it was small," resident Jim Hill said. "We always liked living in a small area."
He and his wife said they enjoy the charm of Stuart and hope it doesn't change.
"Hopefully, the police can do something about it, and hopefully people can get help," Hill said.
Tumminelli said he doesn't know why it's happening, but he's working to stop it.
"It has been a tireless effort, especially over the last 10 days," Tumminelli said. "We will continue to investigate and put people in jail that need to be in jail."
In the meantime, Tumminelli said they have increased patrols and are asking the community to call 911 if they see signs of trouble.
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