NORFOLK, Va. – One year after a deadly triple shooting outside Chicho’s Pizza Backstage in Downtown Norfolk, the word “change” is more than a word written on the memorial sign where it happened. It’s a feeling that can now be felt across the board.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence, I’ve seen changes,” said Brian Coon, general manager for the downtown location of Benny Domato’s. ” I work here every weekend, every Friday and Saturday people who go out, come to bars. . And we have [customers] it’s been consistent, so it’s not like people don’t go out on the weekends.”
A year after the shootings that killed Devon Malik Harris, Marquel Andrews and Virginia Pilot reporter Sierra Jenkins, and injured two others, changes can still be seen in both law enforcement and the way businesses conduct themselves. the whole city.
Chicho’s shooting was the first of several acts of violence throughout the area over a period of several months, including a shooting inside MacArthur Center Mall weeks later and a quadruple shooting outside Legacy Restaurant and Lounge in the summer of 2022.
Prosecutors would eventually drop charges against suspected gunman Antoine Legrande because of problems getting witnesses to cooperate in the case, but his charges could be reinstated at a later date.
But the weeks following Cicho’s shooting saw a concerted effort by city leaders to clean up the downtown area.
Norfolk Police Department officers increased their patrols in the area Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Enhanced patrols are still in place, according to an NPD spokesman.
“There has been a lot more police presence since the shooting,” Coon said. “In our Granby Street corridor, I haven’t really seen any violence.”
The city is still renting mobile camera units located up and down the Granby Street corridor.
Members of the Downtown Norfolk Civic League told 13News Now it seems the general perception among downtown businesses is that safety has improved since then.
While calls for a possible curfew never materialized, city staff overhauled the city’s conditional use permit (CUP) process, with Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer eventually citing downtown businesses would have to try why they “deserved” to stay downtown.
Restaurants that serve alcohol, not just bars that are open late, now have to go through the CUP process. Several establishments including California Burrito, Scotty Quixx and Legacy Restaurant and Lounge have had their operating permits revoked by the city council for various reasons related to alleged violations and have fought through the courts to reopen.
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