Shots Fired, Neighborhood Too Afraid To Call Cops

By: Jason Aubry Email
By: Jason Aubry Email
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More than a dozen shots were fired into the air behind Jalapeno's Hot Spot on the south end of Pueblo sometime around 2:00 a.m. Saturday.

The first time the police heard about it was Wednesday. That's because no one bothered to call them and report it.

KKTV talked to several of the people living near the bar, and they say the situation on the weekends is getting worse. "Years ago, all we had to worry about was just destruction and now it's bullets," says one home owner. Sally, we agreed to change her name so that no one would seek retaliation against her, worries about relatives that come to visit. "Sometimes they'll come and they'll stay overnight, you know, on a weekend."

Sally has found bullet holes in her roof from people firing guns into the air in the bar's parking lot and adjacent alleyway. Now she's concerned that someday the guns may not be pointing into the air when they're fired.

Other neighbors refused to talk to us on the record about what happens on weekend nights behind the bar. Many of them stated they didn't want anyone coming after them for speaking out. The Pueblo Police Department tells me, they understand the attitude but it doesn't make their job any easier. "People need to take an active role in protecting themselves and protecting their community," says Deputy Chief John Ercul.

Ercul says, it's frustrating when things like this happen, especially when a shooting goes unreported. In the month of August, there were 65 reports of shots being fired in Pueblo. Ercul says, sadly many more occur and don't get reported.

Investigators with the police department urge the community to call in when they hear someone firing a weapon. Even if they don't give their name, or address, the other information they provide may lead investigators to a break in a case.

Because of forensic science, investigators can match bullet casings to a single weapon. The gun leaves unique marks on the spent casing just like a fingerprint. If a witness sees the gunman firing the weapon into the air one night, and reports it, investigators can collect that evidence. Later on if that same gun is used in another crime, the casings will already be on file, and police will have a lead on a suspect who may be responsible.

The bottom line, according to Deputy Chief Ercul is, "at some point, someone will have to just step up and kind of overcome that fear and give us the information we need."

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