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updated: 8/2/2014 9:53 PM

Aurora police step up patrols after shootings leave two men dead

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Aurora police have assigned extra patrol officers to the city's southeast side after two fatal shootings in less than 24 hours, authorities said Saturday.

Since July 25, shootings have left two men dead and two more wounded, police said.

Police Chief Greg Thomas said investigators are pursuing several leads into the shootings, but none are "really strong."

A 20-year-old Aurora man died Saturday after police found him lying in a driveway with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Police were called about 2:25 a.m. to the 900 block of Jackson Street on a report of shots fired and a person down.

Theran L. Smith, of the 1000 block of Charles Street, was hanging out with a group of people near a building on the 500 block of East Ashland Avenue when multiple shots were fired, apparently from a line of trees south of where the group was standing, police said. He ran away and then collapsed where he was later found by officers.

Smith was pronounced dead at 9:25 a.m. Saturday at an Aurora hospital, police said.

Police have not determined a motive or whether the shooting was connected to the death of Anthony J. Kostrzewa, 24, of Chicago, who was shot Friday afternoon in the backyard of a house on the 200 block of Schiller Street.

Kostrzewa was standing with two other men outside the house when three men pulled up in a dark gray vehicle that resembled a pickup truck. Two men got out of the vehicle -- including at least one with a handgun -- and approached Kostrzewa and the others about 2:35 p.m. Friday, police said.

Kostrzewa's companions ran into the house, police said, while he ran into the backyard where he was hit by at least one of multiple shots fired by at least one of the attackers. Thomas said police believe the shooting was gang-related.

The two suspects were described only as male Hispanics.

The Schiller Street house also had been the scene of a drive-by shooting at 1:10 a.m. Thursday in which no one was injured, police said. They have no descriptions of the suspects in that shooting.

Police continue to investigate a pair of drive-by shootings July 25 that critically injured two Aurora men. A 33-year-old man sitting on a front porch with two other people on the 600 block of Hinman Street was shot in the neck, and roughly an hour later, a 19-year-old man was shot in the chest as he was standing outside of a home with several people on the 300 block of South Spencer Street, police said.

Thomas said the department has added extra officers to the area in response to the uptick in violence and urged anyone with information about the shootings to contact police.

"It may not be the general public, but there are people out there who know what happened," he said.

Anyone with information on any of the cases is asked to call Aurora police at (630) 256-5500 or Aurora Area Crime Stoppers at (630) 892-1000. Callers to Crime Stoppers are anonymous and qualify for a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to any arrests.

Patrols: House where Chicago man died also was scene of a drive-by shooting Thursday

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