NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With the beginning of a new year, Davidson County District Attorney General Glenn Funk sat down with News 2 to talk about his plans moving forward in an effort to bring down homicide numbers.
Just days into 2023, homicide detectives with the Metro Nashville Police Department responded to three deadly shootings on Monday. From a murder-suicide at the Double Tree Hotel, to what police are calling a “robbery gone wrong” that left a man dead in Bellevue — then, a man was found with gunshot wounds in a parked car in North Nashville.
However, D.A. Funk believes, these shootings will not determine the rest of the year.
“Even though our numbers have gone up in the last seven or eight years, I expect to see those numbers start to come down,” said Funk. “It impacts entire families, it impacts entire communities. We have to make sure we remember the victims.”
Looking forward to the year, he is hopeful that by combining efforts with Metro police, they will be able to deter violent crime.
He also addressed the concerns over gun safety. Last year, MNPD reported a record number of guns stolen out of vehicles. The majority of them were taken from cars that were left unlocked.
“Part of the problem that we see is that a responsible gun owner does not leave their gun in their car,” said Funk. “If you have a gun in the car, it’s much more likely to get stolen. That’s how we’re seeing a lot of guns end up in the hands of juveniles, and somebody who’s not even 18 years old yet does not appreciate the sanctity of life or the permeance of death and that’s just a really bad mixture.”
The latest release from MNPD revealed 1,353 guns had been stolen from vehicles in Nashville in 2022. More than 70% of them were taken from vehicles. Police also note that vehicle burglaries go “hand-in-hand” with vehicle theft.
“I’m really trying to work hard to get the message out and so is the chief to be safe when it comes to how you store your weapons,” Funk said.
Funk also talked about a new way his department is prosecuting cases. It gives prosecutors the ability to follow a case from start to finish.
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“What that does is let the district attorney who’s going to end up trying to case, be a part of the investigation team,” said Funk.
This would mean the prosecutor is there from the beginning, starting at the crime scene. Then, the prosecutor will work with the police throughout the investigation in order to make sure the case is strong enough to convict a suspect(s).
It’s a practice that is scheduled to be used at the trail for the first time this month, with the killing of 26-year-old Caitlyn Kauffman. The ICU nurse was shot and killed on I-440. Her accused killers appeared in court two months ago in what was an emotional day inside the courtroom.
“I really think going forward we are going to have folks who have committed these homicides arrested, and arrested properly, we are going to be able to have them convicted and incarcerated so that they can’t kill anybody else and it should be a deterrent effect on other folks who might be the kind of person who might be willing to take another life,” explained Funk.
This new method, combined with Metro Police Chief John Drake’s continued initiative to deploy officers across the county during the hours of 5 p.m. and 3 a.m., when crime typically occurs, D.A. Funk is hopeful this year is promising.