‘We shouldn’t have to feel scared to walk across town’; councilmembers, residents react to Greensboro gun violence

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) —  11 shootings in 11 days. Two of those shootings happened early Sunday morning.

The first happened just before 1 a.m. at One17 Sofa Bar and Lounge on Greene Street.

27 minutes later, Greensboro Police were called to Lucky’s Skate Shop and Lounge on Patterson Street.

City leaders are troubled to see so much violence.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan has spoken extensively about her proposed city-wide entertainment ordinance.

It would require owners of businesses where violent crimes have happened to increase security.

On Sunday, she told FOX8 she’s working hard to draft an overall safety ordinance she can share with stakeholders in the coming days.

But the mayor is not the only one who thinks enough is enough.

“There is sadness in it because I don’t think there is anything we can do,” said Marikay Abuzuaiter. 

The city council member does not want to attend another memorial service for someone gun violence has taken from the world.

“I’ve made pleas. But how many of the people who need to hear what I say are listening? Please put down the guns,” added Abuzuaiter. 

On Friday night, the councilwoman joined friends and co-workers at a vigil honoring 72-year-old Patricia Grant.

Grant died on the job after police say 19-year-old Avion Bell shot her during a robbery at the Speedway on Battleground Avenue.

Her death on July 1 marked the start of a violent month in Greensboro.

On July 4, there were two shootings in the city: one on Joy Ann Terrace and another on Wilcox Drive.

On July 5, shots were fired on I-40 West near West Gate City Boulevard.

On July 7, bullets hit a car on Holden Road and West Florida Street.

The next day, on July 8, gunshots rang out on Milton Street.

Police responded to Sykes Avenue and Ogden Street on July 9th for shootings.

On July 10, just before 3 a.m., a gunshot victim was found outside of the Cookout on Randleman Road.

On July 11, five people needed medical attention after shots were fired outside of One17 Sofa Bar and Lounge and at Lucky’s Skate Shop and Lounge.

One of the victims was a juvenile.

“It’s scary that we as humans at times have to be scared to walk around the area where we live,” said Mariam Shina, who was walking around Downtown Greensboro on Sunday. “We shouldn’t have to feel scared to walk across town or grab a bite with friends.”

The increased violence, and where some of these shootings are happening, is concerning to many people.

“It’s a very populated area. A lot of people come [downtown] to check out stores, get some drinks, and bar home,” said Preston Shankle. “You never know what’s going to happen when the sun goes down, or where trouble could be.”

People in the community told FOX8 they hope something can be done before more people get hurt or lose their lives.

“More police presence in the area possibly?” suggested Shankle. “I mean right now I haven’t even seen a cop around [downtown] in a while.”

“We can’t have an officer on every corner,” said Abuzuaiter. “How to prevent something like this? I don’t think there’s a way. I don’t want to sound cynical or defeated…I’m not defeated but it’s really hard to figure out when something like this is going to happen.”

Abuzuaiter told FOX8 even though there’s a lot of violence now, the Street Crimes Unit through the Greensboro Police Department is doing a great job tracking down suspects and solving the investigations quickly.

One way to reduce violent crime is to call Greensboro/Guilford Crime Stoppers at (336) 373-1000 when you see something that doesn’t seem right.

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