Business, home owners pick up pieces
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1:00 AM
Police believe teenagers may have use a high-powered pellet rifle in drive-by shootings that damaged a total of about 40 businesses, vehicles and residences throughout town Thursday night. There were no injures.
The inside of Chuxster’s Guitar Shop can be clearly seen throught the large gap left after it was shot out during last Thursday’s shooting spree.
One caller reported seeing a black extended cab pickup truck with rims, possibly a Dodge or Ford, said Police Investigator Bobby Patillo.
"We're also looking into any surveillance footage," he said. "At this point we believe it was a drive-by."
A reward is being offered through Crimestoppers for any information on the responsible parties involved.
Police Chief Grant Myers said there are 37 known incidents in the city of Philadelphia where windows had been shot out with what appeared to have been a high-powered pellet rifle.
The first reports came in around 10 p.m. Thursday and continued throughout the night well into Friday morning. By 10 a.m. police investigators had a pretty good idea of the extent of the incidents.
Regina Hicks, owner of Gipson Cleaners on east Beacon Street, said she received a call from police at 1:15 a.m. Friday morning about her glass doors being shot out.
"One was totally shattered but the other just had bullet holes. It was broken into a million pieces," she said. "We put up cardboard to secure our building."
Hicks said that because the damage to one door was so extensive they had to get it repaired the next day.
"When you get a call like that you don't know what to think," she said. "It scared us to death."
Hicks said it was sad that most of those hit were small mom-and-pop businesses. "We work hard to make a living and provide jobs and people just don't know the price it takes to fix these things," she said. "Vandalism like this hurts us all and it is so needless."
Other businesses reporting damage included:
Autozone, East Central Inc., Barnett Mechanical & Electrical Inc., 424 Blues Café, Taste & See, M&W Used Appliances, Faulkenbery's, all on Beacon Street, Knots on Main Street, Chuxter's Guitar Shop on Center Avenue, Ronnie's Steak and Grill on Pecan Avenue, Central Water on Valley View Drive, Glass Worx on Weyerhaeuser Street, Cadence Bank on Main Street, The American Legion on Myrtle Street, Family Dollar on Main Street, Downtown Deli on Center Avenue, Special Occasion on Lakeside Drive.
Vehicles were struck at Muffler Mansion on Beacon Street, Bobby's Jewelry on Beacon Street, A&M Auto Sales on Beacon Street, Griffis Motors on Holland Avenue, Southern Premier Auto Sales on Beacon Street, Deal's on Main Street, Kosciusko Road, Gum Street, Williamson Avenue, Church Avenue, Byrd Avenue and Indian Hospital Road.
Windows at two residences on Poplar Avenue and two on Byrd Avenue were also struck.
Myers said that the owner of the vehicle struck on Indian Hospital Road had gotten into her vehicle without realizing the back glass had been broken.
"When she closed the door the window shattered," he said.
Chief Myers said his investigators are following up on any leads and asked that anyone who thinks they might be a victim of this shooting spree to bring an estimate of the damage to the police station and file a report.
"We believe it was just kids riding around but we're not excluding any possibilities," he said.
Myers also asked that parents talk to their children to see if they have any knowledge of the incident.
"We think the community could help us solve this by talking to their kids," he said.
Lindsy Renfrow, owner of Knots on the square, said three glass windows and the her glass door were struck by bullets.
"It looked like the windows had exploded," she said.
Her store windows were still completely boarded up Tuesday morning.
The damage wasn't limited to just the city.
Sheriff Tommy Waddell said that his deputies responded to three calls that night of shootings at parked vehicles.
"We got called out to [Mississippi] 21 north, county Road 610 and Mississippi 488 in the Hope community," he said. "We believe these are connected to the city incidents."
The Thursday night shootings were not the only ones committed last week.
On Tuesday, June 17, a vehicle parked at Old Mexico on Beacon Street had a window shot out and on Wednesday, June 18 a vehicle on Williamson Avenue was also damaged.
Chief Myers said the person or persons responsible, if convicted, could face serious charges.
He noted that any damage estimated over $500 is considered a felony.
Damage to the businesses and vehicles will lead to felony malicious mischief charges and if convicted the responsible parties could face $10,000 in fines and up to five years in jail per count, he said.
Damage to the homes will lead to shooting into a dwelling charges and if convicted the responsible parties could face $5,000 in fines and up to 10 years in jail per count.
"This is probably the largest volume of calls we've received at one time," Myers said. "We want to assure everyone that we will do everything in our power to solve this case and get the responsible parties."
A reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest of the responsible parties.
Call Crimestoppers at 1-855-485-8477 or 601-485-1860, or call the police department at 601-656-2131.