Eastside leaders, residents call for changes after shooting injures 10-year-old: ‘I’m sick and tired of it’

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 9:15 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2022 at 5:03 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Community leaders are calling for changes nearly a week after a 10-year-old was shot and suffered serious injuries in downtown Charleston.

The shooting at Martin Park left visible bullet holes in the white brick wall of the swimming pool building and the glass of the window on the door into the building. There are cameras up on the building in the park, but people who live in the area say that is not enough.

The Eastside Community Development Corporation and neighbors say the cameras do not show the basketball courts or baseball fields, and that is a problem, especially since there is still no suspect in Saturday’s shooting. In addition, they point out how tree branches block some of the camera views.

They want to see visible changes, like more cameras that provide coverage, community policing where people build relationships with the officers and roundtable discussions about how to invest in this neighborhood with city leaders.

Edward Jones has lived in the Eastside neighborhood for 62 years. He says he has seen a shooting hurt a child more than once and it is unacceptable.

“I’m sick and tired of it, I really am sick and tired of it,” Jones said. “When a child cannot come out in their community and not worry about being shot – no. Safety, we need to put safety for these kids first. So me, Edward Jones, I am calling on the mayor, the people from the recreation department, our councilman, we need him to come back out here and we need to talk.”

Shelia Fields is the president of the Eastside Community Development Corporation. She feels she had to get neighbors together to say something about this violent crime.

“We need to have more intervention programs for these parents and children, especially for the parents when they see that their children are becoming out of control, they would have a program or someone to go to save that child,” Fields says.

Antonio Coaxum says the community also needs to work to stop the violence at its source and the city can help by investing in resources like cameras at the park and all the programs there.

“We’ve been investing in the mental health side of things,” Coaxum said. “A gang war has been brewing and spilling into the streets. The ECDC has been working closely with the city for diversified opportunities for inner city kids.”

Nathan Watson lives across the street from the park and says he heard the shooting and saw the aftermath.

“It sounded like a war zone, automatic weapons flying and everybody scattering,” Watson says. “When the shots stop, I go over and a 10-year-old kid is lying on the ground. And nothing is being done about it. I feel like our city councilmen need to step up on this.”

He says on top of more cameras and attention from the city, he also wants to see the community work together to create a safe neighborhood.

“We need to protect our kids,” Watson says. “It starts in the home. What you put in is what you get out. We’re going to need to do some meetings, do some rallies and get the parents involved.”

Charleston Police have not shared any update on the investigation. At this time, they do not have a suspect description for the public.

The child is still listed to be in critical but stable condition.

Investigators are working on the case. Anyone with information is asked to call 843-743-7200 and ask for the on-duty detective or 843-554-1111 for Lowcountry Crime Stoppers if they wish to remain anonymous.