Assistant City Editor
The Waterloo Police Department is mounting simultaneous, coordinated investigations to crack two unsolved murder cases in the past six months that have left four people and a near-term unborn child dead, and an early Thursday shooting that left two men critically injured.
"We are looking at all leads, and all connections," Police Chief Thomas Jennings said. "There's a special investigation on each of these cases. We're looking at any and all avenues and all directions for any possible leads and possible clues…We have all our resources devoted to locating these people and holding them accountable for their actions."
A connection among the three incidents has neither been confirmed nor ruled out. "Any time you have incidents of violence like this, you always look at, is there a connection," Jennings said. "We are looking at all possible leads and all connections."
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Police are investigating the Sept. 21 fatal shootings of Calvin Maurice Rash and Martavious "Tay" DeShaun Robinson as they left the home of an acquaintance at 408 Thompson Ave. They also are investigating the Jan. 3 slayings of Anthony Quinn and nine-month-pregnant Rhiannon Olsen of Cedar Falls at Quinn's Hartman Avenue home. Olsen's unborn child, a boy who was to be named Jalen, didn't survive.
In early Thursday's incident, Samuel Lavar Landfair, 23, of 116 Harrison St., and Jimmie Junior Walker, 22, of 2723 E. Fourth St. each were shot several times in a night club parking lot at Edwards Street and old Logan Avenue. Both are in critical condition at Allen Hospital.
Though the circumstances surrounding at least two of the three incidents apparently include drugs or areas of apparent drug activity, Jennings indicated the incidents, while violent, do not necessarily signal an increase in overall drug activity in the community, or the need for an intensification of the extensive anti-drug efforts already in place.
"We've had 47 drug convictions in federal court in the past year. Any time you take one off the street there's another one to take their place," he said. "What we need to do is stay on track," and stay focused on the investigations at hand and anti-drug efforts already in place.
He noted that an officer was not only in the vicinity, and quickly responded, at the time the shootings at Logan and Edwards occurred, but that officer also transported one of the victims to the hospital.
The Police Department is utilizing neighborhood associations, its street crimes unit, the Tri-County Drug Task Force and criminalistics laboratories. "We're also working very closely with the Cedar Falls Police Department and the County Sheriff's Office," he said. Also, he said, "We're asking for the public's help in these instances."
Jennings stressed the incidents are not random. "These are acts being done against specific individuals," he said.
The chief also suggested the public should keep in mind that it takes deliberate, thorough police work to crack such cases and build sufficient evidence to ensure conviction of the responsible parties.