RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Two days after a deadly shooting in Shockoe Bottom, business owners vent their frustrations and talk about what could be done to make the area safer.
The discussion took place at the neighborhood association’s public safety committee meeting which had already been planned before Saturday’s shooting. The ones who did speak to us say they’re ready to work together to make a difference.
Shockoe Bottom business owners started a dialogue about safety.
“We all want everybody to be safe, have fun, and be a part of the neighborhood and not have anyone feel unsafe,” said Reggie Brown, the Have A Nice Day Café General Manager.
Brown says about two dozen security guards worked last Saturday when 20 year old Jeremy Uzzle, a John Tyler student from Petersburg, was shot and killed in the parking lot next door. Uzzle’s father says his son, an aspiring singer, who didn’t have enemies, was celebrating a friend’s birthday party.
David Napier with the neighborhood association says some business owners are upset this type of crime will scare people away.
“This was a fight between people who knew each other, or knew of each other and that doesn’t make it any less tragic, but the perception of that, of course, it discourages people from coming down here,” said Napier.
Right now, Have A Nice Day caters to the 18 and older crowd, but brown may limit access.
“A big thing is to maybe go to 21 and up. We’re flirting with that. We’re not sure we’re going to go that route yet,” said Brown.
Richmond’s police chief says he wouldn’t change what the department already does in Shockoe Bottom including foot patrols and a special detail assigned from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. But wants business owners cooperate with each other. They plan to meet privately to work something out.
“Somebody lost their life. A mother lost their son, so the biggest thing we’re trying to do is figure that out first,” said Brown.
Have A Nice Day is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to Uzzle’s killer. Funeral services are planned for Friday afternoon.