WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Homicide numbers are outpacing the previous year in Winston-Salem, the violence is keeping officers away from their families and Chief William Penn is frustrated.

Penn used the word “staggering” when talking about the number of shots fired at Happy Hill Park over the weekend when a pop-up block party turned violent in an instant.

“I noticed a lot of commotion and people looking, and a fight broke out under the picnic area, and from that moment, I knew it was already time to go because a fight with all these guns out here is only going to go left,” Trevan Graham said.

Graham was one of around 200 people who attended the party. He ran away, keeping his head down worried about stray bullets as officers got to the scene.

“They heard that kind of gunfire and immediately went back in…and were tending to victims as the gunfire was still going on,” Chief Penn said.

People who live in the area call Happy Hill a positive place and worry people bringing in violence from the outside could change it.

“I just think it’s sad we can’t come together and have a good time without the guns, without the violence, without the fighting. I’m sure no one intended for it to happen,” said Monica Funderburk, a 20-year resident of Happy Hill.

Chief Penn says the community can now expect to see more officers.

“I want the folks who live in the areas of the parks to understand they can call the police before the shots ring out,” Chief Penn said.

City officials tell FOX8 the group did not have a permit or prior permission to be at the park. Law enforcement leaders say they did not receive any 911 calls about the gathering prior to the gunshots.

Chief Penn’s team is talking about putting up cameras in different parks across the city. Even with the extra eyes, people need to speak up.

“There were over 200 people on that scene. I wish we had 200 people telling us what happened,” Chief Penn said.

Chief Penn says it is too early to say if the party organizer will face charges. 

Investigators are working to determine if the victims were the intended targets.