A week of violence has belted Burlington, Iowa.
Four days later, police arrested Donald Watkins and Virgil Griggs of Miami, Florida, after police say the two men went on a shooting binge, wounding two men outside of Fun City. In addition to the shooting at Fun City, police say Watkins and Griggs shot several vehicles and apartments during a drive-by, and police say the two men set fire to their vehicle before being arrested.
Kambra Ware, who was shot outside of Fun City early Sunday morning, said he was leaving Fun City when he noticed a large group of people arguing in the parking lot.
“When I came out, I heard a couple of people backing up,” Ware said from his hospital room Monday afternoon. “The next thing I know, I heard a pop.”
Ware said he recognized the sound as a gun shot; he dropped to the ground. Ware said screams echoed as people began to runaway from the scene. When Ware began to lift himself from the ground, he knew something was wrong.
“I couldn’t push myself up. I looked up and saw that I had been shot in my arm,” Ware said, his right bicep wrapped from where the bullet penetrated his arm. “I didn’t even know these guys. I was just hit with a stray bullet.”
Ware said the bullet didn’t hit any main arteries and he should be released on Tuesday, August 12.
While Ware is fighting to recover, the Indian Terrace neighborhood in Burlington is fighting to cease the violence. On Sunday, August 10, dozens of concerned neighbors gathered at Tammy King’s Burlington home. The group is recruiting members to their neighborhood watch team.
“Instead of sitting there and talking about putting an end to the violence, we decided to take the initiative and we are doing it,” King said.
King and several others in her neighborhood formed the “Indian Terrace Watchers”, a neighborhood watch group in the Indian Terrace neighborhood. Since they began the organization in July of 2013, they have worked directly with the mayor and the Burlington Police.
“It’s organizations like the Indian Terrace Watchers that’s going to be the biggest help and that’s what is going to curb the crime and make Burlington a better community,” Shane McCampbell said, the mayor of Burlington.
Members of the Indian Terrace Watchers said they hope other communities latch on to the idea. Co-founder Tammy King is hopeful.
“I want everybody to reunite and bring Burlington back to being safe.”