Columbus Little League bouncing back after park shooting
An East Columbus community is healing from the scars left from what an army veteran describes as a scene of terror, after shots ring out during a friendly water fight between kids and a little league baseball practice in a Columbus park.
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - An East Columbus community is healing from the scars left by what an army veteran describes as a scene of terror after shots ring out during a friendly water fight between kids and a little league baseball practice in a Columbus park.
Chris Smith, President of Sally Little League and an Army Veteran, is comparing the shooting in Shirley Winston Park back in May to a scene out of a warzone. A few parents have pulled their kids out of the league. Smith and the league of roughly 120 kids are trying to put the incident behind them and move forward. The group is making adjustments and changing their colors from green to blue to pay homage to the police and the fallen Columbus Police Officer the park is named after, Shirley Winston, who was killed in the line of duty over thirty years ago.
”I can understand parents not wanting to bring their child to a place that’s not safe. We know we lost four families for sure. Hopefully, they’ll think about it and try again, but I understand.”, said Smith.
As for the park’s future, News Leader 9 spoke with Columbus City Councilor Toyia Tucker, who represents the district. She says in a text she is exploring what’s best for the park moving forward. There are talks of putting a gate at the entrance to keep people from coming in after hours. However, for now, no plans are being executed. One resident who does not want to be identified commends Columbus Police efforts since the shooting. According to Tucker, there are police details constantly patrolling the parks.
Paul Poole, a resident who frequents the park to walk and play his guitar, says he plays things safe when it comes to coming to the park.
“I have fear. I come out here in the morning and walk because anything can happen.”, said Poole.
Since that May shooting, Columbus police report there have been five incidents in or near the park area, including the following;
- A drug arrest
- Two aggravated assaults
- A hit and run
- Someone charged with exposing themselves
Also, the 16-year-old shot in the incident is out of the hospital and doing okay. According to the police, so far, no arrests have been made.
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