Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Council Expresses Sympathy for Shooting Victims, Including Mayor’s Pregnant Cousin

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution expressing sympathies for six people killed in recent shootings. The victims included a city employee as well as the pregnant cousin of Mayor Randall Woodfin.

In his comments to the council Tuesday, the mayor expressed his frustration with the lack of leads in finding suspects in the shootings.

“When you have something like this happen in your community, it’s important we enact justice as swiftly as possible. But it turns out BPD can’t do it themselves … it takes people with information to come forward,” Woodfin said.

Wooding had to pause and fight back tears as he discussed the crimes.

“The council, the mayor’s office and BPD, we charge uphill every day fighting a culture that promotes violence. We charge uphill every single day with a culture that supports ‘no snitches.’ We charge uphill every single day in a culture that, I’ll just say it, there are too many people that are comfortable protecting shooters,” he said.

According to a release from Birmingham police, officers responded to the 900 block of Center Street North Friday after monitoring equipment alerted authorities to gunshots in the area.

Police arrived to find four victims lying unresponsive on the ground near an open lot.

Three of the victims — 32-year-old Cortez Ray, 36-year-old Talton Tate and 38-year-old Terrell Edwards, all of Birmingham — were pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics rushed a fourth victim, Kevin McGhee, 38, of Birmingham, to UAB Hospital with life-threatening injuries. He was later pronounced dead.

According to Birmingham police, the victims were at a neighborhood car wash when they were fired upon. Investigators believe one or more of the victims were targeted.

The same day of the shooting, Birmingham police found the bodies of Angeliyah Webster, 20, of Birmingham and Christan Norris, 20, of Irondale in a car at the 4100 block of 10th Avenue Wylam. The couple, who had been missing since Valentine’s Day, had been shot to death, according to police.

“I know there’s a lot we can do with tax dollars. I know public safety is a concern for all of you,” Woodfin told the council Tuesday. “But on this one, the community is going to have to step up.”

According to Woodfin, Edwards was a city employee, initially working for the Public Works Department and later transferring to Parks and Recreation.

Woodfin added that all four of the victims in the Center Street shooting were fathers, and Webster, his cousin, was pregnant.

Woodfin also lost a nephew, 17-year-old Ralph Woodfin III of Tarrant, to gun violence in 2017.

Statistics released by Birmingham police show that, while total violent crime has decreased by 17% year-to-date, the city has seen 14 murders since Jan. 1, compared to 12 during the same time last year.

In other business, the council:

  • Recognized the Phillips Academy girls basketball team, which recently won the BCS Middle School Basketball Championship.
  • Approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to execute a redevelopment agreement with NorthStar Soccer Ministries, under which the group will buy two vacant lots at 4520 and 4601 14th Ave. North and develop a soccer complex that will provide soccer-driven programs for the youth and their families in Birmingham. The city has agreed to make the property available to North Star Soccer Ministries for $425,000. The measure passed by a 6-1 vote, with council member J.T. Moore voting no and council member Valerie Abbott abstaining.
  • Approved a real estate purchase and sale agreement with Positive Development LLC, under which the city will purchase a commercial building at 735 Eighth Ave. West, vacant land at 721 Eighth Ave. West, and vacant land at 717 Eighth Ave. West for a purchase price of $250,000. According to city officials, the property, which is near Eighth Avenue’s intersection with Arkadelphia Road across from Birmingham-Southern College, will be used for future development.
  • Approved a resolution accepting a lump sum bid from Tecta America Southeast of $144,410 for replacing the roof at the Carver Theatre.