South Bend Faced Another Violent Weekend on Buttigieg's Watch

16-year-old killed as about 130 shots were fired around the city

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg / Getty Images
September 10, 2019

A 16-year-old high school student was fatally shot and others were injured during another violent weekend in South Bend, Ind., continuing an upward trend of violent crime during the tenure of Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president.

Between Friday evening at 5 p.m. and Sunday night, approximately 130 gunshots were either reported or detected in South Bend, according to the South Bend Tribune.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, 16-year-old Curtis Frazier Jr., who was a student at Riley High School, was killed in the 1800 block of Sampson Street. Makyi Toliver was also shot, but survived the shooting. Two other people were shot Sunday morning in the leg and shoulder. A vehicle and multiple occupied homes were struck by gunfire, but there were no other reported injuries, according to the Tribune.

Included were three separate incidents where more than 25 shots were reported: just after 2:20 a.m. Saturday in the 1900 block of Charles Street; about 1:15 a.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of North Brookfield Street; and just after 6 a.m. Sunday in the 2500 block of Kenwood Avenue. The Charles Street location is off South Bend Avenue, not far from the University of Notre Dame.

Partly because of previous problems with gunshots, South Bend police had already deployed the "Armadillo" anti-nuisance vehicle near the Charles Street scene on Friday, before the weekend outbreak of gunfire, Garcia said.

There were also two incidents in which 10 to 15 gunshots were reported. In total, there were 15 calls for service related to gunfire, according to Garcia.

Buttigieg and South Bend superintendent Todd Cummings released a joint statement in response to the shootings, calling the violence "devastating."

"The shooting death of 16-year-old Curtis Frazier, Jr., is devastating, and we are deeply saddened by the gun violence that has taken the life of one of our community’s high school students. We will hold Curtis's memory close and lift up his friends and family in the coming days and weeks," the two South Bend leaders wrote. "As we grieve with the Frazier family and offer our support, we also offer them our solemn pledge to condemn gun violence in our schools, our neighborhoods, and broader community."

Buttigieg and Cummings were both in attendance at the Monday afternoon vigil for Frazier at Riley High School. Buttigieg was campaigning in New Hampshire over the weekend, where he attended the New Hampshire Democrats’ state convention.

The Washington Free Beacon previously reported that South Bend has faced a dramatic increase in violence since Buttigieg took office in 2012. While he has made multiple promises and offered data-driven solutions, data submitted by the South Bend police department and FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting system has shown violence has increased year-on-year.

The rise in aggravated assaults is likely driven by Buttigieg's failure to encourage "proactive policing," former Common Council president Derek Dieter told the Washington Free Beacon. A former South Bend police officer himself, Dieter said that South Bend's decision under the Buttigieg administration to cut its drug unit and traffic bureau cut down the department's ability to take preventative measures against violent crime.

"Probably 50 percent or more of drug and gun arrests are through traffic stops," Dieter said. "If people know they're not going to get stopped, they know they can get away with it."

In addition, Dieter said the lack of interaction with police officers and the communities they serve outside of criminal confrontations engenders a mutual disrespect between the two groups.