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Shooting prompts call for more police

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
A community activist is calling for the city of Salisbury to put more police officers on the streets to stop shootings.
William Peoples, a member of Calvary Baptist Church, said today he isn’t surprised that the church bus got caught in a shootout Sunday afternoon.
“It’s not surprising. It’s not amazing to me,” said Peoples, a former president of the local NAACP and unsuccessful candidate for City Council.
He noted that the shooting occurred within two blocks of J.C. Price American Legion where 13-year-old Treasure Feamster died of gunshots in 2007, caught in a crossfire of rival gangs outside a birthday party.
“What has the police done? What has the City Council done? People still live in fear,” he said.
“There shouldn’t be a street in Salisbury that you would be afraid to walk or drive down. This was Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock,” Peoples said. “It should never have happened.
He cited an incident a couple weeks ago in the same area. Peoples said he was in a store, thought he heard a gunshot, and minutes later a man walked into the store who had been shot near Monroe Street.
“We need more police presence. Why aren’t there more officers on the street,” Peoples said, adding he plans to go to the Salisbury City Council meeting this afternoon to ask for stepped up police presence.
“Guns are all over this community. Look at the police reports in the paper, people stealing guns from homes … selling them on the street,” Peoples said.
He went on to suggest if the city can’t provide more officers, then call in the National Guard.
Police Chief Mark Wilhelm said the section ó Old Wilkesboro Road and Brenner Avenue ó gets the same police presence as any other section.
“We have a limited number of resources, we have the whole city to cover,” Wilhelm said.
He added that if the City Council wants to increase the manpower, more officers could be put in that area.
Wilhelm said the bus being caught in crossfire is unfortunate, but he isn’t sure having additional patrols would have prevented it.
“Short of having a police officer sitting right there, there is no guarantee that it wouldn’t happen.”
Peoples said he is also working on a town hall meeting of the community where top city officials will be invited to attend. He will announce the date at a later time.

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