August 11, 2006
Three shootings in three weeks in the same housing development...the situation has families in Jennings Place fearing for their lives.
The third shooting happened Wednesday evening on the 1800 block of Cooney Circle. Investigators say suspects fired shots in the heat of an argument, and a few hit nearby apartments.
Officers say the three recent shootings may be related.
People in the area are especially worried because this time, the shots went through their walls and into their homes.
By day, kids play in the street. But when the sun starts to set, the shots fly. Two hit renita blair's house a little after seven Wednesday evening.
"My son was on the front porch when it happened," Renita says. "They had just come out the house about 20 minutes before the gunshots started."
It's a good thing he was outside, because one shot came into his bedroom. Another went into Renita's.
"Part of my dresser you can see it...and my son got a big hole on part of his headboard."
Another shot hit the house next door. You can see the hole in the screen where the shot went through. Neighbors around here say this kind of thing happens all the time.
Officers say the suspects got into an argument outside, and stray rounds from their gunfire hit the nearby units. One woman who wants to remain anonymous says she heads to church to stay away from the danger.
"I have five children," she says. "It's very scary. Every other night someone's shooting...it's crazy. Bullets don't know nobody. They'll come through your windows and everything."
Lt. Scott Peebles says gang activity in the area could be the cause.
"When you have a tightly populated area, you're going to have people who don't have the best interest of the apartment complex in mind," he says.
Some say the solution is manning the guard station. It's been empty for a few years, meaning anyone can get in.
"They shooting and try to get who they shooting at," says the anonymous woman. "They don't care if they shoot who they're trying to get or not...they just want to get their point across by shooting."
Many, like Renita, fear for their families' lives.
The families are not hurt, but there is about $1000 worth of damage between both units.
The suspects face charges of criminal damage to property in the first and second degree.
The sheriff's office tells us they're investigating whether this is related to the other recent shootings.
The Housing Authority used to pay off-duty deputies to guard the housing development. They stopped a few years ago. Now they're stepping up patrols in that area.