South Bend Police Call County for Backup After Increased Violence

The increased violence occurred the same weekend as Mayor Buttigieg's contentious town hall

Pete Buttigieg / YouTube

After six shootings late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, the South Bend police department called in St. Joseph County officers for assistance. The increased violence occurred the same weekend that Mayor Pete Buttigieg held a contentious town hall addressing a June 16 police shooting.

SBPD were first called in to respond to a mass shooting at Kelly's Pub early Sunday morning. Ten people were injured, and one was killed. After the shooting, so many people showed up at South Bend's Memorial Hospital to check in on the injured that the hospital went on lock down. Police were called in to manage the crowd.

At the same time, a number of police officers were called in all over South Bend to respond to five other shootings, including one, where a witness said the shooter was targeting police.

"Basically every resource we had was busy," police spokesman Ken Garcia told the South Bend Tribune.

St. Joseph's County sheriff Bill Redman told the Tribune that the two departments often try to help each other out.

"This isn't something new, we will always try to assist one another," Redman said. "South Bend was spread thin so they asked us for assistance."

After the weekend, Redman released a statement urging residents to stop the violence.

"I strongly encourage the citizens of St. Joseph county to continue meeting peacefully and voice their concerns peacefully and not with acts of violence," he wrote. "We cannot solve violence with violence! What I am asking today is that we STOP the violence! STOP the shootings! Our community has suffered enough. The problem will only get better when law enforcement and our community work together."

The same weekend, Buttigieg held a town hall where he faced harsh criticism for his handling of the police department and racial violence in South Bend since taking office. Buttigieg defended himself, saying that he has taken "a lot of steps" for reform.

But even as he attempted to reform the police department, Buttigieg demoted the popular black police chief Darryl Boykins in 2012, a move he would later regret as his "first serious mistake." Buttigieg replacement pick, Ron Teachman, resigned in 2015 amid repeated accusations of discriminating against black police officers.

Throughout his terms, one of Buttigieg's flagship programs, the South Bend Group Violence Intervention commission, failed to reduce the numbers of shootings in the city, with the number of people injured or killed remaining constant since Buttigieg instituted the program in 2013.