Recent downtown shootings spark concern for businesses

Downtown businesses are on high alert after three separate shootings in the area in the span of two weeks.

“If this stuff keeps happening everybody is going to go away,” said Justin Weens, owner of Feels So Good Records.

On Tuesday evening two people were shot right by Weens’ record shop on East 7th Street. Austin police are looking for two suspects, both black men in their early to mid 20’s.

This shooting comes just days after APD Chief Brian Manley said they will be focusing efforts in the entertainment district. Police say the victims were going to a show in the area when they stopped to use an ATM at a gas station before getting in an argument with the suspects.

“This neighborhood already has a bad rap for things like that,” Weens said. “As this grows it's definitely not good for business just hurts the reputation of this neighborhood.” 

Weens said the recent uptick in violence around his shop is becoming a big concern for not only for his business but his employees.

“It definitely is, we are open late for a lot of the shows that happen (in the area),” Weens said. “We have a lot of females who work here too so it's scary for them, I feel bad having them work late at night.”

Tuesday’s shooting marks the third in the downtown area span of two weeks, two of them close by the police station. 

“The downtown area is way more violent this year for sure,” Weens said. “I’m personally scared now to walk past this block on 7th Street just going past Red River is super scary to do even during the day time, it's so sketchy.”

Earlier this week Manley spoke about an effort to increase law enforcement presence in the downtown area to curb the increase in violence the entertainment district is seeing. 

“I think it (violence) is still going to happen; I think the people doing the crimes don't really care if police are around or not,” Weens said. “If you're going to shoot somebody you're probably not worried about the repercussions.”

Manley said this initiative will begin this weekend and will last until they feel they have addressed the issue or find an alternative way to maintain the safety in the area.

The victims in Tuesday’s shooting are in stable condition. Right now police believe none of these shootings are connected. 

Anyone with information on this recent shooting is urged to contact police.