Officials in the city of Eudora, Arkansas, said they were enforcing a mandatory emergency stay-at-home order after struggling to stop what the mayor described as a “shooting spree.”
Mayor Tomekha Butler said the city of fewer than 3,000 people has seen more than a dozen shootings in recent days, including the killing of a local resident on December 24. December 27th Citizen Emergency Curfew”.
A curfew applies from 8pm to 6am, with exceptions for both employment and medical emergencies.
Butler said in a statement to ABC News that the frequency of such shootings was unprecedented and that it was “first ever for an act of this magnitude.”
“If you are caught during curfew hours, you will be stopped and searched,” Ms Butler said in a video posted on Facebook, with four law enforcement officers standing behind her. .
In videos and other posts, Butler appealed to community members to work together to stop the violence.
“Please help stop these senseless criminal activities,” she said.
Community members, local leaders and law enforcement officers gathered Wednesday night for a rally at a local church. They voted to extend the curfew until January 3 and called on members of the community to help stop the violence.
“We want your help. We really need your help,” Butler said. “And the only way to change that is if we all work together to change our city.”
With dozens of community members seated in wooden church chairs, aldermen behind drum sets, and leaders addressing anxious communities from a podium, the conference is both a public presentation and It was also a community outing session.
“This is no longer about people being shot in their homes. People are actually dying in the streets,” one unidentified community member pleaded.
Some said they were concerned about the severity of the problem compared to the resources available in Eudora.
“It’s too big for everyone,” a community member told local officials.
Arkansas police are investigating the Dec. 24 shooting, which left one resident dead and another injured, according to Arkansas police spokesman Bill Sadler, but the curfew was not enforced. said to have not been involved in At this time, no arrests have been made for the murders and an investigation is ongoing.
An official at the Eudora Police Department said it faces several limitations, including a limited number of staff, a budget described as “almost useless”, outdated safety equipment and broken down vehicles. . As an illustration of these problems, Police Chief Eudora Mike Pitts pointed to the bulletproof vest he was wearing and said it wasn’t even his.
A police station sergeant also said authorities were unable to act on the information because members of the community were afraid to provide it.
“Prosecutors will turn me away if they don’t have any corroborating evidence to support what I’m presenting.” That’s the problem I have now in putting these cases together. The community is afraid to come forward and say what’s going on in the streets here that are actually implicated in the ongoing shootings.”
Despite these restrictions and concerns, Pitts adhered to the curfew.
“Some people find it inconvenient, others find comfort.”
“This measure does not violate the constitutional rights of citizens, business owners, religious adherents, or anyone traveling through the city of Eudora,” Butler said.
freedom from fear
In a country where stories of gun violence have become commonplace, the issue facing Eudora may seem trivial, officials said. But in smaller cities like Eudora, rising crime has become unsettling.
“I know it sounds like peanuts in a big city, big city, but here in a small community of 2,500 people, that’s too much,” Pitts said. I don’t know.”
The “catfish capital of Arkansas,” Eudora is spread across several square miles of rural Arkansas. Over 80% of her population is African American, sharing a grocery store, a 100-yen shop, and a liquor store. With less crime overall, City Hall residents could easily recall unsolved crimes, like the drive-by shooting three years ago.
The recent uptick in shootings has prompted community members and leaders to take action against what the mayor described as “a few senseless citizens” and the police chief as “murderers.” seems to have driven
“This is home. If you don’t feel safe at home, what are you doing?” Butler asked at Town Hall.
Law enforcement has told members of the community that they will not rest until crime is stopped.
“We’re not going to rest until we get justice for that, until we get justice for people whose homes have been violated by shooting people into their homes,” Pitts said.
He added, “This is not what Eudora is supposed to be. This is what I grew up with in this area as a kid and it’s not going to stay that way.”