Wild West: Shootout on the DTM

Shot-aThe Hook–Early Saturday morning, March 16, at approximately 12:45am, three gunshots rang out on Second Street NW on the Downtown Mall, between the offices of the Hook and the Elks Lodge, leaving two men shot and wounded on the street. According to police, the two men have been identified as Frank D. Brown, 56, of Albemarle County, and Leon T. Brock, 22, of Culpeper County. As of Hook presstime on Tuesday, March 19, both were listed in stable condition at the UVA Medical Center and no charges had been filed. The police officer who has also acknowledged firing his weapon has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

According to a search warrant for Brown filed in Charlottesville Circuit Court,  a witness told police that Brown fired on Brock after Brock and three other men jumped him.

Charlottesville Police Officer Alex Bruner, according to the search warrant, told police on the scene that he had fired his weapon twice. A witness also states that Bruner shouted “Drop the weapon!” before firing.

The late night gun battle– witnessed by a Hook reporter– happened in the blink of an eye, but the repercussions of the violence continue to reverberate across the Downtown community. READ MORE

Ambassadors or bouncers?

DTM business owners and patrons have apparently been giving City Council an earful about rude or aggressive behavior from some folks on the DTM, and so council has decided to spend $80,000 to hire four “Downtown Mall ambassadors.” Councilor have been quick to say its not a “crack down” on the homeless, though much of the “problem behavior” likely comes from that population, but instead a way to make people feel welcome on the Mall. Ambassadors, they say, will “assist tourists, provide extra maintenance, build relationships with business owners, and help direct the homeless to appropriate service providers, among other things,” says the DP.  Hmmm…still unclear exactly how they will prevent bad behavior, not just from the homeless, but from folks pouring out of bars and shows late at night. This could be something to watch. And that’s what council has decided to do: fund the program for a year and see what happens. Photo by daquella manera

City pulls chairs out from under homeless

Five benches around the Central Place fountain were removed because of “behavior problems” from some of those who have been using them, the Newsplex reports. But one homeless man makes a good point: “I understand there’s some noise, but the thing is, you don’t have to take the chairs out for that; pinpoint the ones who are making the noise and deal with them that way.” The City says some business owners complained.

New fire truck can navigate the Mall

If there’s a fire emergency on the Downtown Mall, don’t be surprised if you see an odd little fire truck arrive on the scene. The Charlottesville Fire Department just bought a funky new Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV).

According to fire chief Charles L. Werner, it’ll be used to get to people on hiking or biking trails, on the Downtown Mall during crowed events, and at UVA football games.

The two-seater carries a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, an automatic external defibrillator (AED), berating equipment, and can ever flow some water and putting out some firefighting foam.