Shootings will present challenge for new Sanford police chief

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SANFORD, Fla. - Shots rang out in Sanford Tuesday evening, just hours after city leaders announced the man they want to be the next chief of police.

Many residents believe the new chief will have his work cut out for him in their city that has seen a spike in gun violence.

Police say a man was grazed in the head by a bullet, at the Seminole Garden Apartments on west Fifth Street around 6:30 p.m.

The shooting is the ninth in Sanford that WFTV has reported on the past 30 days.

"Just sitting in the parking lot talking to my brother-in-law and just pow, pow. pow out of nowhere," said Sanford resident Beatrice Hollie.

Hollie said she saw the man who was shot.

"He got up walking away, so it can't be too bad. But I mean, it's still crazy," said Hollie.

Hours before Tuesday night's incident, the city manager offered the job to Cecil Smith, a deputy police chief in Elgin, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.

Police don't have a suspect in the shooting.

Should Smith accept the job offer, Tuesday's incident wouldn't be the only unsolved shooting on the books. In fewer than two weeks, there have been more than a half dozen shootings.

"Nowadays you just have to take your chances, afraid to walk out your house," said Hollie. "This shooting is really getting out of hand."

Hollie said the shootings make people feel like captives in their own homes, and this type of violence is one of the top issues residents told city leaders they want the new police chief to address.

"You can't even trust your kids to go out and play anymore because a bullet don't have a name on it," said Hollie.

Smith told the city manager he would decide in the next week if he'll accept the job.

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