Mayor calls for downtown security measures after death
By Bobby Burns
The Daily Reflector
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Greenville’s mayor on Monday announced a number of measures to increase security in the downtown area after a fight resulted in a stabbing death at Fifth and Evans streets on Saturday night.
The incident is the second death as a result of violence downtown in about a month. Police officers on Sept. 10 shot a killed a man reportedly firing a weapon into a crowd of people near Reade Street. Two others were injured in the incident.
“I speak for everyone in our city when I say we are disgusted and infuriated,” Mayor P.J. Connelly said in a statement distributed by email on Monday morning. “Greenville is better than this. We are better than this. We must stand together to send a strong message to those committing violence: enough is enough."
It has become clear the culture downtown promotes violence, Connelly said. “The loss of life due to these senseless acts is not normal, and we as a city cannot allow this behavior to be normalized. We must have increased accountability for those who choose to commit violence, as well as a broader community effort to decrease violence.”
The mayor said the following measures will go into effect immediately:
■ Increased police presence in parking lots, entrances and exits to downtown area, an established police command post downtown every weekend, and increased use of police blue lights.
■ A comprehensive review of current city ordinances pertaining to downtown nightlife.
■ City partnership with the nonprofit Uptown Greenville development agency to create a Nighttime Economy Safety Team (NEST) comprised of city representatives and business owners and stakeholders.
■ Increased participation and presence of partner agencies downtown to include the Fire Marshall, Alcohol Law Enforcement, Probation and Parole, East Carolina University Police, Code Enforcement, and Planning and Zoning.
■ Additional public safety measures that cannot be announced at this time to the general public.
Saturday’s incident occurred after Davon Moore, 33, of Winterville exited an SUV with another person and confronted two more people, according to police. Moore was stabbed in a fight that followed and died at Vidant Medical Center.
As of Monday the department had not released the identities of others involved in the fight or if arrests were forthcoming.
The State Bureau of Investigation is conducting at review into the Sept. 10 incident. Further information about that investigation has not been released.
The police department has employed a variety of security measures downtown in response to past incidents, including traffic barriers and checkpoints.
The department currently stations up to 30 officers in the area Friday and Saturday nights, department spokeswoman Kristen Hunter said Monday. The contingency includes East Carolina University Police Department officers.
Previously, it has used its mobile command center for events like Halloween and PirateFest, Hunter said.
Work to complete an outdoor chess park at Sheppard Memorial Library is nearly complete, and city officials want members of the public to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. on Oct. 23, a week from today.
District 4 Councilman Rick Smiley led an initiative to partner with the library, the Friends of Sheppard Library, the Pitt County Arts Council, and Uptown Greenville to raise $10,000 to install what amounts to two life-sized chess boards in the library’s lawn off of Evans Street.
Large-scale pieces will be stored in outdoor lockers and can be checked out for play at the library. Smiley said is working with members of local chess clubs to facilitate weekend use of the play area. Tables surrounding the set also will be able to accommodates standard chess and other games.
Workers for the last several weeks have been applying black and white stain in a checkerboard pattern on the gaming area.
PLANING AND ZONING
The Planning and Zoning Commission tonight is schedule to consider revisions to a rezoning request previously opposed by neighbors concerned about a possible sand mine operation.
Happy Trial Farms has asked to rezone about 61 acres near the intersection of Belvoir Highway and Redman Laned from residential-agricultural and general commercials to allow for industrial and other uses.
The revised request decreases the size of lots intended for industrial use from 51 acres to about 32 acres. It also increases the number of tracts involved from two to four.
The developer is now asking the city to rezone 7.4 acres of Tract 1 from residential-agricultural to residential; 22.4 acres in Tract 2 from residential-agricultural to industry; 21.2 acres in tract 3 from residential-agricultural and general commercial to heavy commercial; and 9.9 acres in Tract 4 from residential-agricultural and general commercial to unoffensive industry.
City staff has determined that the request is in compliance with the city’s land-use plan and recommended the commission approval of the request. The City Council has final say in the matter after receiving the zoning board’s recommendations.
During a public hearing on the orginal request in July, about 20 residents of the nearby area came out to oppose it, with many voicing their concerns that it would be adapted into a sand mine, much like an adjacent sand mine that had been operating for many years.
The City Council tabled the matter in August and did not take it up again.
Tonight’s meeting is set for 6 in the council chambers at City Hall, 200 W. Fifth St.
■ The Aquatics and Fitness Center at 921 Staton Road will hold its Boo Bash Splash 5:30-9:00 p.m. on Friday. Kids of all ages are welcome to enjoy games, prizes, treats and much more. Adults are required to accompany children under 10 in the pool area, and children under the age of 5 must be within arm's reach of an adult while in the pool. Cost is $10 for ages 14-and-up, $5 for ages 13-and-under, GAFC members are free.
■ The Greenville Recreation and Parks Department's Specialized Recreation Division will host the annual Specialized Recreation Costume Party for individuals with disabilities on 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the Drew Steele Center, 1058 S. Elm St.
■ The Pitt County Domestic Violence Network will hold a Domestic Violence Awareness Month Candlelight Vigil at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25 in Superior Courtroom 1 of the Pitt County Courthouse, 100 W. Third St.
■ The City of Greenville is looking for volunteers to participate in the City's Adopt-a-City Street program. Neighborhoods, businesses, families, and individuals can make a difference in the community by adopting a City street through this litter-removal initiative. To learn more, call (252) 329-4522 or click here.
■ The Public Transportation and Parking Commission will meet at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday in the G.K. Butterfield Transportation Center, 600 S. Pitt St.
■ The Investment Advisory Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday in City Hall Conference Room 337, 200 W. Fifth St.
■ The Pitt-Greenville Airport Authority will meet at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Airport Terminal Conference Room, Airport Road.
■ The Sheppard Memorial Library Board will meet 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Sheppard Memorial Library, 530 Evans St.
■ Greenville Utilities Commission will meet at noon on Thursday in the GUC Board Room, 401 N. Greene St.
■ The Neighborhood Advisory Board will meet 6 p.m. Thursday at Jaycee Park, 2000 Cedar Lane.