After first homicide in Alexandria this year, concerned residents asking for witnesses to speak up

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Alexandria's first homicide this year happened right before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Now, police are wasting no time in trying to solve the case.

So many people showed up to a community gathering on Monday that the meeting was moved to the main gymnasium at the Charles Houston Recreation Center.

The uptick in crime and the city's first murder this year is all happening in the middle of new and older residential developments near the Braddock Road Metro station and Cameron and Washington streets - it is being called a hot spot in the city.

One attendee asked at the meeting, "If folks would raise their hand if they have ever heard gunshots in the neighborhood? Can you raise your hand if you've ever witnessed a drug deal in the neighborhood? Can you raise your hand if you've ever called the police?" said an attendee.

It was far from your typical community gathering.

Alexandria police called a neighborhood meeting after the city's first homicide of 2015 happened on Thursday. Shakkan Elliott-Tibbs was fatally shot in the 700 block of North Fayette Street. His murder comes on the heels of a slew of calls reporting shots fired in this area.

Police say the crimes are connected to a group of individuals who are targeting each other. In the middle of it all are several residential neighborhoods -- old and new.

"My son was 22 years old," said Linda Tibbs.

She emerged from the crowd with a message of her own to witnesses who saw something, but have said nothing to police.

"The fact that they have chosen to stay silent about something like this is saying that it's okay for the people who are doing what they're doing," said Tibbs. "It's also allowing the place where they live to continue to be unsafe."

Tibbs' son was visiting the area on a two-week summer break. The former Freedom High School football player's murder case is turning colder by the day.

Police spent Monday night turning to the community for help.

"If victims aren't talking to us and witnesses aren't talking to us, it's hard to get this cycle to stop," said Alexandria Police Department spokesperson Crystal Nosal.

If you have any information about this homicide or any crimes in the city, Alexandria police wants you to contact them at 703-746-4444 or even tweet them @AlexandriaVAPD on Twitter.