GREENE COUNTY, Mo. – The Greene County Sheriff’s Office released information Friday, December 30, in response to the public’s concern about gang activity and frequent shootings in Springfield.

According to a Greene County Sheriff’s Office press release, the Sheriff’s Office has been working to conduct interviews, gather local gang intelligence, make arrests, and seize stolen firearms and firearms used in several Springfield-area shootings.

The release detailed the special effort, explaining that the Greene County Sheriff’s Office met with several representatives from the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, Greene County Juvenile Office, Springfield Police Department, Springfield School Police, Missouri State Highway Patrol, ATF, and the FBI in September to coordinate a plan for targeting local gang activity, focusing on “local gang members suspected of committing violent crime.”

Additionally, two men were arrested this week on a complaint for Federal Firearms violations. 19-year-old Jardell Williams and 19-year-old Ezekiel King are linked to multiple Springfield shootings, according to the press release.

Both men are being held at the Greene County Jail and awaiting formal charges to be filed.

The Sheriff’s Office says the special efforts made in the last several months have led to “a number of new investigations against members of local gangs.”

“It is the responsibility of law enforcement to provide a safe community for the citizens we are sworn to protect. News of weekly shootings and murders have become common place and our citizens no longer feel safe. With just a little bit of focused effort, we have already seen a reduction in gang violence. This is just the beginning, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office will continue targeting these violent gang members until they are removed from our community.”

-Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott