Frightened residents not reporting shootings, says Hobson City mayor
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Jun 10, 2013 | 2998 views |  0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOBSON CITY — Homes along Martin Luther King Drive in Hobson City were shut tight as the sun set Monday evening. Only a few residents could be seen walking down the middle of town.

There’s a fear there, said Mayor Alberta McCrory, born from a rash of shootings in the last several days. It was not clear Monday how many shooting have taken place in recent days, because many of those shootings have gone unreported to police, McCrory said.

She’s learned of them second-hand from residents, McCrory said.

“People are afraid,” McCrory said. “We have a lot of single women in this are ... in section eight housing, and you have a lot of children. That’s really serious when people don’t value life any more than that.”

A shooting Sunday night that was reported left two bullet holes in the window of a Hobson City woman’s car. The woman and her 5-year-old child, who were in the car during the shooting, were unharmed. The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department is asking for help identifying those involved.

Deputies are also investigating another shooting that took place June 4 after a 28-year-old woman reported to police that she found bullet holes in her SUV, which had been parked on Martin Luther King Drive.

Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson told The Star early Monday that the shootings may be between “two different factions” involved in an ongoing dispute. Amerson added that the town’s residents have been very quiet about those shootings.

McCrory went a step further during Monday’s meeting, saying the violence might be related to gangs.

“People are afraid when you start talking gangs, when you start talking shootings,” McCrory said.

The town just last month started receiving regular patrols from sheriff’s deputies. The town’s own police department closed in 2007 due to declining funds. Since then, deputies have said criminals from outside of town moved in to take advantage of the lack of police presence.

Councilman Freddie Striplin expressed concern over growing fear among the residents.

“We’ve got to restore a sense of safety to MLK, because right now MLK doesn’t feel safe,” Striplin said.

McCrory is asking for help in putting an end to the violence.

“Somebody has to tell somebody something,” she said. “Before they can do anything about it.”

In other business, the Town Council:

— Approved a contract to hire Chris Ball as an emergency, on-call repairman for town-owned water and sewer lines.

— Approved a contract with Babb’s Engineering for a six-month period at $600 each month to conduct rainwater mitigation studies for the town. Much of Hobson City sits in a flood plain, said McCrory.

Staff Writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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