EPPD: Increase in violence in Cincinnati Entertainment district as a murder investigation is underway

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It was a quiet night in the Cincinnati Entertainment District in West El Paso Monday evening, however, it was a different scene in the early hours of the morning.

El Paso Police officers responded to a shooting around 2 a.m., where a man was killed.

EPPD said 26-year-old Darion Marquez Williams was shot and killed outside the bar Chino Chido in the popular entertainment area.

As KTSM reported, police said a fight broke out inside the bar and was then taken outside when bar bouncers removed them. That’s when investigators say Williams was shot and killed.

As the Crimes Against Persons unit continues investigating, area residents and bar owners say there needs to be something done to stop the violence in the area.

KTSM obtained data from an open record request on 911 calls to the area. In January 2021 alone, at least eight calls were for violent crimes including fights, assaults and a stabbing in the Cincinnati area.

El Paso Police Department officials told KTSM they’ve seen an increase of violence recently.

Most incidents start inside the bars, patrons overconsume, and arguments and/or fights start and those involved are escorted out.  That only displaces the problem, which carries over outside. 

Sgt. Enrique Carrillo, EPPD spokesperson

EPPD said the Westside Regional Command Center has allocated additional officers to work directed patrols in and around the Cincinnati district area, especially on what they call “peak nights” of Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. 

A Kern Place resident who asked not to share his name said he’s lived in the area for four years. He said they’ve been constantly concerned since moving in.

“Everything about this area in Kern is great except what’s been going on here at 1 and 2 in the morning,” the resident said.

He said he wouldn’t have any issue with the Cincinnati area if it weren’t for the fights, violence and beer cans and bottles left in the area.

“I would not have any problem with people coming down, having a drink responsibly, getting with friends, I did it with friends when I was younger, but the violence is not good for this community,” the resident said.

The resident said he’s tried reaching out to police and El Paso City Rep. Peter Svarzbein, who serves the District 1 area including Kern.

Rep. Svarzbein’s office told KTSM he couldn’t comment officially since the investigation is pending, but they add he is aware of the situation and would like to address it soon.

The Kern Place resident who spoke to KTSM said the solution needs to come from residents, bar owners and City government collectively.

“It’s a big problem here, it affects all of El Paso to know one area is a high-crime area where stabbings and now murders are taking place,” the resident said.

Just weeks before the shooting, on January 24, police responded to a stabbing in the Cincinnati Entertainment District, as KTSM previously reported. An arrest in that case was made on Feb. 5.

Frank Ricci, owner of Rockin’ Cigar Bar and Grill on Cincinnati Ave., said he’s seen an uptick in violence.

“I’m not sure if its a societal thing, if people are having some issues with being cooped up and then they are released in the world, but the world of good old-fashioned fist fights is out the door, I guess they’re stabbing and shooting each other now,” Ricci said.

He said he’s seen people get into fights usually around closing time at 2 a.m., when people fill the streets after a night of drinking.

“We used to fill this room with people where we never had this kind of situation — a stabbing one week and a shooting the next — we can’t have this anymore,” Ricci said.

He added it was also bad for business, especially as many bars are trying to recover from pandemic-related losses.

EPPD said overconsumption of alcohol leads to the fights. Ricci agreed people can be uninhibited with too much alcohol.

“You have two lives that are destroyed over someone bumping into someone’s girlfriend, something silly, where for someone who may have had zero drinks, it may not have happened,” Ricci said.

The bar owner said he was looking for a way to implement changes to his establishment to change the type of business coming in.

“We’re going to be taking a pay cut, but at the same time I think it’s necessary to re-evaluate the kind of business we’re getting and attracting as a street as a whole,” Ricci said.

He added, however, at the end of the day, the responsibility falls on the individuals engaging in fights, violence or drinking too much.

“Us as bar owners or restaurant owners, we need to look at what we’re doing, what we can do to change to not let this happen as far as our part, but ultimately the responsibility is on individuals,” Ricci said.

Police have not made an arrests in the shooting.

To view the full 911 call data, click below:

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