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Burlington Police Arrest 3 Following Shootings; Mayor Pledges Additional Resources

The Burlington Police Department announced Tuesday evening the arrest of three men in connection with a shooting at 421 S. Garfield Ave. earlier in the day. The shooting was one of three in the city in a 12 hour span that left one person dead and two injured.

The three men arrested in connection with the Garfield Ave. shooting each face one count of intimidation with a dangerous weapon.

  • Holland Ewing, 27, Chicago, Ill.
  • Dontis Davis, 27, Matteson, Ill.
  • Gilbert Ellis, 29, Chicago, Ill.

Lt. Jeff Klein said in a news release that multiple shots were fired at the residence at 421 S. Garfield Ave. before the shooters fled.
“Shortly thereafter, police were contacted by Great River Medical Center personnel, as a male had presented to the [ER] with a gunshot wound to the upper body,” said Klein, adding that James Griffin, 35, of Chicago was taken University Hospitals in Iowa City for treatment.

Klein said the vehicle believed to be involved in the Garfield Ave. shooting was then spotted by Des Moines County Sheriff’s deputies.

“The vehicle came to a stop in the area of Summer and Grove,” said Klein. “One occupant remained in the vehicle and was detained. Two other occupants were detained at separate locations, attempting to leave the area.”

Three Shootings in 12 Hours

Prior to the Garfield Ave. shooting, officers responded to 2103 Williams Street Monday at 11:18 pm on reports of shots fired. They found Donald Hurt, 23, of Burlington with a gunshot wound to the lower body.

Hurt was taken to Great River Medical Center for treatment.

Klein said Tuesday afternoon that a suspect in the shooting of Hurt had been identified and an arrest warrant was being sought.

Then, at 9:48 am Tuesday, officers were dispatched to the area of Market and Gunnison in response to shots fired.

“Simultaneously, police encountered a male with a gunshot wound to the upper body, who was slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle in the area of Aetna and Gunnison,” said Klein. “That individual was pronounced dead at the scene and his death has been classified as a homicide.”

The car the victim was driving had crashed into another vehicle. The identity of the deceased has not been released.

It was while they were at the homicide scene that officers heard the shots being fired at the home on Garfield Ave.

Klein said the shootings are not random acts of violence, but rather, “The investigation has revealed that the victims and assailants were acquainted.”

Mayor Pledges Additional Resources

Mayor Shane McCampbell told Tri States Public Radio Tuesday afternoon that the uptick in shootings of late has been tough on the city and its residents, culminating in the three shootings this week.

“There’s frustration, obviously, within the city, within some of the residents,” said McCampbell. “Some of the people are nervous and afraid and rightfully so.”

McCampbell said he met with City Manager Jim Ferneau and Police Chief Doug Beaird to talk about the shootings. He said the police department will have the resources it needs to address the situation, be it overtime or additional patrols.

“People are concerned, and as people are concerned, it’s my job to make sure people in the community know that we are committed to doing everything we possibly can,” said McCampbell. “We will not hold back in any way, shape, or form to making sure that the police have everything that they need to be successful and to try to curb or stop some of these things from happening.”

The mayor said the challenge right now is getting people to cooperate with local law enforcement to stop the violence.

McCampbell said he understands the fear of retaliation is real. But he said it takes the entire community coming together.

“We can’t get these problems solved. We can’t begin to eradicate this problem until people start to speak out," the mayor said.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.