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East side neighborhood sick of persistent violence

After four people were shot in four different attacks on the east side, residents say they're sick of violence in their neighborhoods.

Monday was a violent night, especially in east San Antonio, as four people were shot in different attacks.

The trouble started just after 2 a.m. at the 7100 block of Cahill, where a man in his bedroom was shot during a drive-by. Then, just after 3 a.m., there was a shooting on Bailey in which a 13-year-old boy was hit twice in the knee. After 4 a.m., a man was shot at the corner of Hays and New Braunfels. Later, just a short distance away on Upland, another person was shot around 6 a.m.

All of this violence happened after one shooting Monday evening on Morningview and another on Vestal Place. On Sunday, two people were shot in the Sunrise neighborhood and one man was killed at the same Hays corner as the attack early Tuesday.

Neighbors who have been listening to the barrage of gunfire wonder why there seems to be a sudden surge in gun attacks. People who live near the corner of North Braunfels Avenue and Hays Street used words like “scary” and “shocking” to describe the last few days in east San Antonio.

At the Hayes Food Mart, employees would not comment on the record, but they could be seen outside their building examining six fresh bullet holes on the north wall of the store. Near the street, they saw more evidence of a night of terror, as blood stains still marked the sidewalk and easement.

There was so much blood that firefighters had to come and wash down the sidewalk about four hours after the shooting.

Meanwhile, two doors down, neighbors found new bullet holes in the pickup truck parked in their driveway.

Fernando Spiza said that the shootings happen all too often on the block and that he hopes police will do more before a child or senior citizen is cut down.

Two women immediately next door to the store said that they counted seven shots that night and were afraid of continuing violence.

"I'm sick of it," said Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association President Brian Dillard. "Police say 'work with us.' We don't know how to work with them. I mean, we come to those meetings. We have meetings with them weekly about these stores, particularly, and they tell us there's nothing they can do. I'm sick of hearing that."

Just last week the commander of SAPD East Patrol told a room full of concerned citizens that the new city budget will bring more resources to the fight, but neighbors say that it's little comfort while bullets continue to fly.

"Nothing changes,” Dillard said. “Like, it's the same damn rhetoric every time. I don't want to hear the same bull over and over. I'm sick of it."

District 2 Councilman Cruz Shaw says that violent crime happens all over the city, not just on the east side. Shaw says that new tactics funded by the new budget will make a difference.

"There's a new component, a community engagement piece, which is working with individuals on a grassroot level to deter crime, and working with individuals who have been involved with crimes so we can solve issues out in our communities," said Councilman Shaw, who went on to say that these issues are long-standing problems that will not be solved overnight. "We'll have to stay vigilant. We're working with our neighborhood associations, SAPD, as well as our grassroots organizations to go ahead and get in front of the issue.”

Shaw also said that it’s not just a police issue.

"Once we have to call police, the crime has already occurred, so we need grassroot efforts and a collaborative spirit to make sure we can provide jobs and opportunities for folks so that will deter the crime," Councilman explained as he also called the violence senseless and added that violence does not define the neighborhood. "We have great people in our communities, great small businesses, great parents, schools, and so the community is really coming together in a time of need. So I don't want these shootings to illustrate or create a narrative for our communities."

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