But violence at 1029 McDaniel Street is hardly a new occurrence.
According to a source — I'm waiting on APD public affairs to confirm the statistics — there have been 384 calls for police respond, 230 direct patrols initiated, and 30 fights reported at the location since January 1, 2011. Last year alone, there were six murders on that corner.
This afternoon, at a press conference that was arranged primarily so the victim Brandon White could speak to the media about his attack, LaShawn Hoffman of the Pittsburgh Community Improvement Association also spoke. His message: Pittsburgh wants the convenience store at 1029 McDaniel Street gone.
Hoffman began by apologizing to White, not just on behalf of his organization, but "on behalf of the entire community as a whole."
"No one called the police," he pointed out. "[In the video] a MARTA bus passes, people walk down the street like this is the norm — this is not the norm in our neighborhood and it has to stop. We're closing down that store."
He added," This is not Jack City. It's Pittsburgh. This incident, as unfortunate as it was, is just one of many that's occurred there."
Hoffman told CL after the press conference that his organization has had many conversations with the owner of the convenience store at 1029 McDaniel Street. He says that in the past, owners have claimed not to know that the store was a gang hangout, this despite the fact that members often wear T-shirts proclaiming 1029 is their turf. The owner with whom his organization spoke most recently claimed they'd only purchased the store a couple of months ago, and weren't aware of the problems.
He says he hopes he and his neighbors can work with city officials and use nuisance laws to their advantage to get the business booted out.
The press conference ended with a statement by Brandon White, the young victim of Saturday's attack. He'd arrived late because he needed more time to "gather himself," but seemed poised once he stood behind the podium, flanked by his therapist and advocates with Atlanta's HIV Intervention Project.
White called his attackers "monsters," and said that his "scars run deeper than anyone can know." Fortunately, he didn't sustain any serious injuries when he was repeatedly hit, kicked and smashed with a tire last weekend.
"They wanted attention," White said of his attackers' decision to upload the video to the Internet. "They wanted to look brak and strong. In my opinion, I'm the brave one."
White said he'd been living in the Pittsburgh area for eight months at the time of the attack, and had visited the store on several occasions. He didn't know any of his attackers. He says he hasn't been back to the neighborhood since; he's staying with a cousin elsewhere.
A couple of gatherings are being put together in the aftermath of White's attack. Tomorrow night at 6 p.m., the Pittsburgh Community Association is meeting at Iconium Baptist Church — across the street from the trouble property — to "create positive solutions" to violence in the neighborhood. And on Saturday, the group Change Atlanta hopes to "unite" with the Pittsburgh community during a 10 a.m. rally at the scene of the crime.
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