Shots fired near Cincinnati Entertainment District as area residents press for action

Local

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) –El Paso Police responded to a call of shots fired near the Cincinnati Entertainment District in West El Paso early Tuesday morning.

Police say nobody was injured but a 46-year-old man was taken into custody. EPPD said the suspect shot into the air and was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and discharge of a firearm in certain municipality.

As crimes continue in the popular nightlife area, people who live near the bar district continue repeating concerns.

“This is a crime district, very little entertainment here at all,” Keith Pannell, a Kern Place resident, said.

Kern Place residents have been voicing concerns after several violent crimes have been reported in the area. In February, KTSM reported police were investigating a murder outside a bar Chino Chido. At the time of the story, residents told KTSM they wanted to see action from city officials.

Nearly two months later, more people in the area told KTSM nothing has changed.

“There shouldn’t be a region this close to houses, 100 feet, close to families, families with children live there,” Pannell said.

Crime concerns near the Cincinnati area were a lead talking point at a police virtual town hall last week, where the public comments were dominated with concerns.

KTSM set up an interview Tuesday with El Paso City Council District One Representative Peter Svarzbien, as the bar area is in his district. His office notified he had to cancel at the last minute but he issued a statement instead:

My office has been made aware of the issues in the Cincinnati District, many of which existed before I was elected into office. The safety of our community members is my top priority.  I also want to continue to work with stakeholders, including the Kern Place Neighborhood Association, to come up with short, medium and long-term solutions that keep community members safe while allowing businesses to thrive.

Peter Svarzbien, City Council District 1

“To say that its something that predates him, that’s soft history, so there were ten bars before he came in now there’s 14, bottom line situation has gotten worse,” Pannell said.

Pannell did mention, however, he has been in touch with Svarzbien on his concerns despite other residents not hearing back.

“We’re trying as a group in the area to see if there are some ordinances to close down some of the bars,” Pannell said.

EPPD said the city issued each establishment licenses to operate as a business in a commercial zone across from a residential neighborhood. Officers also do not have the authority to revoke or suspend a license or permit, but they can issue citations for violations.

“Despite arrests and multiple citations those establishments can continue to operate because running bars in that area is a lucrative operation so the cost of a citation is offset multiple times over in revenue,” an EPPD spokesperson told KTSM in a statement.

Pannell said he’d like to see more restaurants and less bars if it would reduce crime. He said while he’s visited some of the establishments, he wants to see action from officials.

“They sell a lot of alcohol, people get drunk and people do foolish things and I don;t mind that as long as the establishments are not full of all the same people,” Pannell said.

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