Unsolved murders, record-breaking traffic fatalities and initiatives to deter crime. KRIS 6 News takes a look back at Corpus Christi’s crime in 2017.
A the year comes to a close, two murders remain unsolved, the first happening just weeks before the New Year.
Andre Fuqua, 24, was returning from Galveston, where he had taken part in a competitive run. He was shot as he was driving on Interstate 37 near Violet Road.
Fuqua was rushed to a local hospital, where he died two days later.
"You can't imagine how difficult for us, it's been. It's been very trying times,” said Gregg Fuqua, Andre’s father. “I would like to just ask the community for any assistance, that's why we're putting up the reward. We can all have closure."
Crimestoppers is offering a $2,500 reward in the case, Andre’s family is offering $25,000.
The city’s second unsolved murder provided a little more evidence, but Corpus Christi Police are still asking for your help in finding Steven Gomez’ killer.
Like Fuqua, Gomez was also shot in his car.
Gomez was found shot to death inside his car in the 1400 block of Corban Drive on July 16.
"We are following up on all leads we've gotten so far and we're trying to determine exactly what happened and who committed this crime so we can get it solved," said CCPD's Gena Pena.
A routine traffic stop turned in to much more on the city’s west side this year.
On October 19, CCPD Officer Jose Hassette tried to stop 55-year-old Dewboy Lister, when police say Lister ran from the scene, and later got into a physical altercation with Hassette.
During the fight, Hassette shot Lister. Both men were taken to the hospital. Lister died early the next morning.
A month later, a Nueces County Grand Jury decided not to indict Hassette.
Hassette has since returned to duty, and the FBI is now investigating the case.
2017 was a record-breaking year for traffic fatalities in Corpus Christi, surpassing 2016 by nearly ten.
Although each case is different, CCPD’s Lt. John Hooper says one thing is certain: Intoxicated drivers and speeding both played major roles.
The mother, 25-year-old Amanda Saldana, died. Her two-year-old son survived.
That wasn't the case for the Coleman family, who lost their one-year-old son, Royalty.
Royalty was being pushed in a stroller by his mother across Everhart Road when a driver hit the little boy in the stroller, killing him.
The driver fled the scene, forcing the little boy's father to make a plea to the community to help find the person responsible.
"If you see this, remember my face. Come and turn yourself in. I am looking for justice." said Christopher Coleman, Royalty’s father.
At last check, police believe they have found the suspect and expect charges to be filed against him soon.
The power of social media also proved useful to police this year.
27-year-old Robert Simmons posted on Facebook, just moments after fatally hitting 46-year-old Mary Ibarra, as she walked home from work.
That post reads: "Some lady just stepped in front of my truck as I was driving and I flipped my truck and killed her. I love you guys but I'm probably going to prison."
Simmons went on to say that he was sitting in the back of a police car at the time of the post.
Social media continued to be a helpful tool in CCPD’s crime-solving arsenal this year.
A woman was caught on surveillance video beating another woman at a shopping center on Port and Ayers. Police shared the video on Facebook and other social media outlets, and right away had a person of interest.
Police also leveraged the power of social media to help find a teenage girl who appeared to be kidnapped.
Police released images of a truck and the teen girl and instantly, thousands of social media users shared it.
However, hours later police found out the teen girl wasn't kidnapped, but in fact, it was all a hoax.
“Because of our social media reach, everybody was looking for this little girl,” said Lt. Hooper. “Everybody was taking it serious just like we were, and if it happened again tomorrow, we would handle it the same way.”
This year wasn't all about solving crimes though, CCPD came up with an initiative to help keep our roads safer, called "Safe Roads for CC"
#saferoadsforcc Traffic Safety has been a priority for a long time here in the #SparklingCityByTheSea. Your traffic safety officers are focused on the area near Staples and Saratoga at this moment. #SpeedKills We Get Emails firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/g5AnITVy33— Corpus Christi PD (@CorpusChristiPD) November 29, 2017
The department also received enough money in donations to buy Skywatch, a system that gives police a birds-eye-view to help look for and deter would-be criminals, and it has proven useful in preventing property and petty crimes.
“We have to be fluid, we have to be flexible, we've got to do everything we can with our assets to bring these numbers down, to make the streets in Corpus Christi safer,” Lt. Hooper said.
To date, the number of traffic fatalities stands at 40, compared to last year which was 31.
As we mentioned, there are still unsolved crimes. If you have information that can help police solve them, call Crimestoppers a call at (361) 888-TIPS.