These are the last two shooting episodes in a rash of shootings that has gripped the Glades communities, led to the death of victims, the injury of many more, and a community wondering if the situation will get any worse before it gets any better.
In the wake of these incidents, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has implemented measures aimed at ensuring the safety of residents and cracking down on the gun violence that as of yet shows few signs of slowing down.
From June 20 to July 19, the Glades communities of Belle Glade, South Bay and Pahokee experienced no fewer than eight shooting incidents.
Shooting 1 – June 20, 9:13 p.m., 100 Block State Road 715, Belle Glade
Shooting 2 – July 5, 3:05 a.m., 600 Block East Main Street, Pahokee
Shooting 3 – July 6, 9:33 p.m., 600 Block West Avenue A, Belle Glade
Shooting 4 – July 8, 4:22 p.m., 300 Block Northwest Tenth Street, Belle Glade
Shooting 5 – July 8, 9:44 p.m., 100 Block Adams Place, Pahokee
Shooting 6 – July 8, 10:32 p.m., 1100 Block Palm Beach Road, South Bay
Shooting 7 – July 14, 8:19 p.m., 500 Block Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Belle Glade
Shooting 8 – July 19, 12:16 a.m., 500 Block Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Belle Glade
Deputies now patrol the major areas of the Glades, especially the inner-city area of Belle Glade, in swelled numbers, being stationed or parked at some of the particularly busy locations, where normally innocent bystanders play dominos or socialize. If a group of people becomes especially concentrated, deputies will break up the numbers.
At the apartment building that seemed to be particularly targeted, a mobile surveillance station was set up by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy responds to the area at odd times during the day to start a compressor that powers the station that keeps vigil over the corner.
The sheriff’s office has also sent additional detectives from its Violent Crimes Division to continue investigating and following up on leads, explained Teri Barbera, director of public information for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. While it seems that the shootings may be connected, the sheriff’s office is not confirming the information yet, wary not to jeopardize active cases.
“There are commonalities in some, but this may not prove to be the case,” Ms. Barbera told The Sun Newspaper.
To date the sheriff’s office has made an arrest in connection with at least one of the shootings, a July 5 incident that ended in the death of a man who was attempting to run away from a fistfight. No other information has been released on the remaining crimes, whether suspects exist, or don’t, or if new developments have led to breaks in the cases.
When asked what residents could do to stay safe, the sheriff’s office response was clear: residents should work with law enforcement officials to help in making arrests.
“Community involvement is integral to solving crimes,” explained Ms. Barbera. “People with information are encouraged to come forward. Bringing those responsible to justice is the first step toward making the community safe.”
Taking note of the fact that most of the shootings occurred after dark, the sheriff’s office said it has not engaged in any discussions about implementing curfews.
“Curfews are an extreme measure, generally only used during declared states of emergency,” said Ms. Barbera.