ST. LOUIS - Chief John Hayden put on his walking shoes and stepped up to residents in the Clinton-Peabody housing complex.
His purpose – to improve relations and reassure that ridding the community of crime is his top priority.
“My message to them is that I’ve invited other resources as well,” Chief Hayden said. “So, you can’t arrest yourself out of violent crime situations.”
The chief and his free ice cream truck appearance comes just hours after federal indictment charges were announced for 15 people.
According to the court filing, charges stem from years of distributing more than 400 grams of fentanyl, money laundering, and conspiracies in deaths that happened in and around the complex.
“There was over 20 guns seized,” the chief said. “There was a lot of fentanyl and heroin sized. So, I’ve been preaching and telling everyone about the fact that the correlation between high gun violence drug sales so I think this is going to go long way.”
The federal court documents go as far as to detail how Christopher Rhodes, Jr, Demetrius Johnson and Armond Calvin allegedly caused the 2016 death of David Bryant.
The filing says the three accused Bryant of stealing one of their drug customers.
A resident who wanted to remain anonymous says she had no clue what was happening just next door.
“Very alarming because you don’t know who staying right next door to you,” the resident said. “I knew drugs was being sold down here, but I did not know that it was a ring.”
United States Attorney Jeff Jensen says the distribution organization has been dismantled.
When asked how the chief plans to keep a new drug ring from moving in, this is his response.
“Staying on top of it and sticking with the plan,” Chief Hayden said. “The plan we developed worked here and we’ll continue to fight violent crime by focusing on open-air drug markets.”
For a neighborhood that’s in need of a new beginning, residents are hopeful that time is now.
“If they feel progress is going to be made like that then move on like that then,” the resident said. “I’m behind it 100%!”