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Bar owner concerned for safety after downtown Gainesville shooting

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 10:17 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville Police are investigating another shooting that happened in Gainesville, this time right outside of multiple bars downtown and one business owner was very concerned.

JD Chester owns Knockin’ Boots Saloon and Downtown Fats, which are both just feet away from where a shooting injured three people early Sunday around 2 a.m.

“It’s definitely getting more and more dangerous downtown,” Chester said. “I mean I have safety concerns.”

Witnesses told TV20 there were more than 100 people at a block party in the parking lot for the State Attorney’s Office when the shots were fired and one of those victims is a juvenile.

Related story: GPD asking community for help to identify suspects in drive-by shooting

“We had to barricade people inside the Knocking Boots Saloon to rush people inside to make sure nobody was going to get shot,” Chester said.

Following the Sunday morning shooting, he said his staff at both establishments will be taking active shooter training because with this uptick in violence, you never know when the next shots will be fired.

“And that is something honestly something I never thought I would have to do,” Chester said.

GPD Spokesperson Graham Glover said police arrested two people, one who fled the scene.

Both face possession charges but are not being charged for this shooting yet.

“At this point we’re not prepared to say whether or not they were involved in the shooting,” Glover said. “The investigation will lead us to conclude one way or another on that.”

While he is taking safety precautions, Chester said he hopes there is a decrease in gun violence, so his staff and customers can enjoy their night without worrying about another shooting.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to stop the main problem and get back to what we used to have a year ago or two years ago,” Chester said.

When out at night, officers encourage people of all ages to be aware of your surroundings, stick with friends and stay in well lit areas.

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