City Council Chambers were packed Tuesday in Wheeling. The big topic of discussion was violence of the streets of East Wheeling.
The council heard four members of the community: the President of Wheeling Central Catholic, a 15th Street resident, the chaplain and the bar manager with the American Legion Post 89.
Community members are frustrated the shootings deter businesses and people from moving to East Wheeling and investing in the neighborhood. They asked how many more people have to die before something is done.
Last year, Wheeling Police officers responded to at least 36 calls around the area of 15th and Jacob Streets.
After 14 shots rang out on December 30th, city leaders and residents are fed up.
“You know it’s really odd, because we just recently completed approximately a three month what we call directive patrol, saturated patrol where we addressed crime trends that we saw prior to the shooting on December 30th,” said Chief Shawn Schwertfeger
Wheeling Police say they just finished up a successful East Wheeling crime sweep and are frustrated by repeat offenders.They say they heard from people living in East Wheeling that the crime sweep was effective.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, representatives from Wheeling Central Catholic, neighbors, and council members say the violence is unacceptable.
“Now how can I control what happens two blocks away or a block away. Now these people that did it were not allowed in the Legion, they were barred, you know, because they were bad guys,” said manager at American Legion Post 89, Eugene Burney.
Burney says the Legion was closed during the last shooting.
Members are frustrated to be associated with the violence.
“If we’re wrong OK, I’ll accept that and if they have recommendations for us to do then I’ll be more than happy to comply,” said Burney.
Chief Schwertfeger says he is frustrated with repeat offenders, especially from out of town.
“I’ve heard a lot of blame being placed on government institutions, police department, private clubs, I’ve even heard an apology, but what I haven’t heard is what about the person who chose to bring a gun into the streets of Wheeling and discharge it 14 times,” said Chief Schwertfeger.
The chief says right now they are continuing to be a noticeable presence on all of Wheeling’s streets.
“All residents are screaming for police protection, police activity and so forth to quell the drug problems,” said Chief Schwertfeger.
Burney says the chief came down to the Legion on New Years Eve to talk. He says he is looking forward to continued collaboration.
“Because the shooting and the death, we don’t approve that, you know and I don’t want it and the people of Wheeling don’t deserve it,” said Burney.
Chief Schwertfeger added that as-far-as motive for the recent shooting, that is still being investigated.
We’ll continue to keep you updated.