Columbia Community Reacts to Shots Near Providence Walkway

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COLUMBIA - An unidentified suspect shot four teenagers early Thursday morning on the steps of the pedestrian bridge crossing Providence Road near Douglass Park. The four teens are in stable condition.

Several residents in the area refused to comment on the incident, but one woman says she believes out-of-towners are causing the problem. She said she believes people coming from St. Louis or Kansas City pick Columbia to cause trouble because those individuals can then flee to their hometowns without consequence.

The violence has many residents living in fear and wanting to leave the area as soon as they can. 

Laronica Harris of Columbia said, "Because people are coming from out of town from Kansas City and St. Louis starting things, and they don't want any problems, so they come out of Kansas City....St. Louis....starting things..."

Phil Steinhaus, Chief Executive Officer for the Columbia Housing Authority, believes part of the issue is that people are not dispersing after events in the park. He says when the community holds events in the park area, some people stay late after the event is over and cause problems. 

He believes part of the solution is for Columbia Police to manage the crowd and make sure people disperse and go home after events instead of lingering around the park. 

Columbia Police stepped up patrols in the area and Steinhaus believes they are serving their purpose. 

"I think they are having a positive effect, I think residents have really appreciated the increase of police presence in the park."

Harris also said she believes the shooter was involved in an altercation near the Blind Boone Community Center late Wednesday night. Columbia Police however, are not yet willing to connect the two incidents.

Columbia Police also add that they have no new information at this time.