Violence concerns lead downtown business to close earlier
COLUMBIA - Living Canvas, a tattoo, body piercing and art gallery on Broadway, is shutting its doors earlier than it ever has before after the most recent shots fired incident happened right across the street.
The announcement was made on Living Canvas's Facebook page on Monday.
"After the last couple weeks of shootings getting closer to our end of downtown we are making the decision to start closing at 10pm instead of midnight. We are restructuring our artist scheduling to make sure we can still accommodate all of you. We want to stress that this decision is to ensure the safety our patrons, staff and families," the post said.
“We just don’t want to put anyone in jeopardy and it seems after 10 p.m. that’s when the problems really start,” Dean Jones, co-owner of Living Canvas, said.
This is all after the third shots fired incident in three weeks in downtown Columbia.
The most recent incident happened around midnight Friday night on Sixth St.
Police reported two cars firing back and forth at each other.
Trent Tucker is a tattoo artist at Living Canvas and also an eye-witness of the shooting.
“Definitely a solid 30 seconds of feeling like fish in a barrel in a cage while someone's discharging fireworks back and forth practically 10 feet from your head,” Tucker said.
Tucker said one man was on foot firing a gun near the McNally's patio and ran away through an alley between McNally's and Tropical Liqueurs.
Jones said in the past violence has stayed up around Tenth St. and Broadway, but now it's making its way down near his business.
"We don’t get near the foot traffic on this end of downtown," Jones said. "There’s a definite dissemination between eighth street down, it’s a different type of downtown.”
Jones said a few months ago there was a drive by shooting outside Living Canvas and the next day he noticed a bullet hole in the outside wall of the store.
He said he grew up in downtown Columbia and was always down there, but things have changed now.
"This was kind of home to me and I always felt safe here," Jones said. "Would I let my kids run loose down here? Absolutely not. No way.”
Mayor Brian Treece said after the most recent shots fired incident he is doing things to address the issue.
"There’s meetings happening all week this week," Treece said. "And we’re already seen an increase in the number of law enforcement that are patrolling downtown.”
Treece added he thinks downtown Columbia is safe, despite the most recent incidents.