A big crowd of neighbors showed up tonight to listen and speak to city officials about the Halloween shooting of Quincy Coleman. The East Precinct’s Captain McDonagh gave a brief recap of the shooting, saying that there were a number of kids hanging on on the east side of the playfield along 25th. A gun was displayed as a vehicle drove by, causing the kids to scatter before shots rang out, hitting Quincy and another boy. Quincy collapsed at the bottom of the nearby stairs that go down to the playfield. The second kid ran to the Teen Life Center that’s part of the new gym and theater complex. The captain once again stressed that the shooting happened on the public sidewalk and had nothing to do with Garfield nor with the Teen Life Center.
No suspect has been taken into custody yet as part of the shooting. But the captain did say that there are lots of rumors going around that kids know who was involved. Police urge anyone with any information to contact police or through an anonymous text of call to Crime Watchers.
Captain McDonagh also said that the police department has made a lot of changes to their patrols since Garfield students returned to the campus this year after being gone for two years due to the big remodel. This includes a full time officer assigned to the school during the day, plus additional enforcement through increased patrols and plain clothed officers doing enforcement around the campus. The officer who now works at the school was described as a sort of member of the faculty. The goal is to get him to interact with the kids on a mentoring and teaching basis, not just for punitive actions.
The captain also said that there have been an increase of thefts and robberies around the school during lunch and at each end of the school day. Police have increased patrols during those hours to try and prevent those sorts of events.
Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz also spoke, saying that the safety of kids and residents in the area around Garfield is currently the department’s number one priority. They’ve been working with a number of outside agencies to address the problem and have deployed additional gang officers and other central resources into neighborhood. However, he said that there have not been any patrol officers that have been permanently transferred from more docile parts of the city to the East Precinct.
It was a long meeting so I’m breaking this up into 3 separate reports. Stay tuned for part 2 of our summary: opportunities for how you can get involved in some community organizations that are trying to address problems with youth violence.