Charlottesville police are investigating the incident that sent two men to the hospital with gunshot wounds. Business owners say it's time for the city to step in. They say this weekend was the last straw.
Every time Joann Dunkle walks into her family's business that she manages, she's reminded of what she saw early Saturday morning.
"One guy got punched and knocked out and his friend was dragging his limp body up to the corner of the street," Dunkle said. "So I went out there to see what was going on, so I open the door, and as soon as I open the door and stepped outside I heard a shot fire."
Joann says she and several other people hid inside Fellini's, locked the door, and hit the police panic button, unfortunately nothing new for these Charlottesville business owners.
"I had to install a panic button to the police because every Friday there's a fight," said Jaclynn Dunkle, Joann's mother and the owner of Fellini's.
"I have to lock my guests in, I have to give last call before the party lets out next door and I lose more than an hours' worth of business."
As Joann and the others huddled on the floor of this restaurant, they say more shots rang out. Just feet away, police say one man shot another man outside the Elks Lodge (I.B.P.O.E. of W. Rivanna #195) on 2nd Street northwest. Witnesses say as he moved forward, ready to shoot again, an officer shot the suspect.
Jaclynn says if this had happened at her restaurant, she would lose her license to serve alcohol.
"I think that something has to be done liquor wise with private clubs," she said. "Some law needs to be changed to make a private club more responsible for the people who are renting it out and taking advantage of the liquor law that they don't have to adhere to."
Jaclynn says it's time for businesses to band together and take their concerns to city council.
"The world class city image isn't being upheld. Do I have to pay to have cameras installed? And then what? Why do I have to pay for that to keep this street safe?"
And until the city steps in, she's making a game plan to protect her employees and customers.
"I don't want to lose business but I also don't want anyone to get hurt," she said.
Dunkle plans to take the lead on making this area safer.
People in the community who know the victim and the suspect say they knew each other and just got into a fight that night. But as for police, they aren't saying much on the pair's relationship, their condition or the investigation Sunday. Officer Alex Bruner remains on paid administrative leave.
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