Midtown residents startled by recent violence

Just after 11 p.m. Wednesday, a robbery was reported on the 1400 block of 3rd Street involving an 18-year-old victim. He said he was robbed by three men. One had a handgun, one had a bat, and the other had a shotgun that was tucked into his pants.

It's a lineup of weapons that has helped police link it to three other crimes that same night.

A half-hour later, a man in the 1700 block of Green Street reported that he was robbed by three men and severely beaten with a bat.

“That's why I walk with my dog, because of things like that,” said Midtown resident Scott Fry.

It's a sequence of violence that has largely spared the Midtown area since last summer, but with several more incidents reported this month alone, residents are once again on edge.

“I have family around here so we all tell each other to watch and be careful,” said resident Joanne Diaz.

Violent encounters may still be shocking in Midtown, but in other areas it's what they call a Wednesday night.

“We hear gunshots, gun violence, it's something going on all the time here,” said a south Allison Hill resident who asked not to be named.

Police said they do believe the two Midtown crimes are related to two other earlier incidents. A barbershop owner and his customers were robbed of their belongings at gunpoint on Derry Street and 20 minutes prior to that, on the 1500 block of Naudain Street, a family on their porch was confronted by a group. The weapons that time were a belt being swung in the air, a handgun, and again a shotgun, which was fired through the family's door.

In all of the incidents, the only injury reported was the man who was beaten with the bat on Green Street. Police said in all cases the suspects were described to be in their late teens through early 20's.

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