CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KRON) — A shootout in a small East Bay town has the community up in arms.
Sheriff’s deputies counted about 45 casings in the aftermath. Now, some are pointing the blame at a local bar and music venue.
Locals in Crockett, California aired out their frustration while Toot’s Tavern bar owners stood their ground over the shooting in a meeting at the Crockett Community Center Monday night.
”I’ve been to Toot’s many a night, and there’s been absolutely no issues,” said John Simon, whose business was shot.
Bullet holes remain in homes and businesses in downtown Crokett after a shootout on May 19 at around 11:30 p.m.
”Frightens anyone, you think about it,” neighbor Rich Haisley said. “Somebody could be getting shot.”
Locals are pointing the blame at the bar, located at the corner of Ceres and Second Street for more than a century.
“Everything can’t be blamed on the bar,” Haisley said. “Let’s face it. When you get a bunch of people together though, the more people you have, the more problems you have.”
Off camera, concerned residents said they suspect a hip-hop concert that night may have attracted a hostile crowd that led to the shooting.
Alastair Bolton lives in a building that was shot at.
”Around eight rounds hit the building, two of them penetrated through windows,” Bolton said. “It’s just crazy.”
In the community meeting, a Contra Costa County lieutenant and deputy were questioned whether there are enough patrols in the town of around 3,000 at last census check.
“”Crockett is encased in our beat 1 area, which also encompasses Rodeo and Crockett, so there’s one deputy assigned to double duty,” Lt. Tricia England said.
The unincorporated town contracts the sheriff’s office.
One deputy patrols four days a week on her own.
On weekends, one deputy patrols across three towns on a 10-hour shift.
Those hours are adjusted around community events.
”There certainly could be some more police presence in that time of night,” Simon said.
Toot’s Tavern owners say they work together with deputies before big events, but this time around, it was a small one, so no need.
”We follow all the rules of everything–federal, state, IRS, ABC,” Toot’s Tavern owner Laura Easterling said. “So, we don’t want crime. We don’t want violence.”
Bar co-owner Matthew Easterling was also in attendance at the meeting. He told KRON4 in the five years he’s owned Toot’s Tavern, this is the first incident of its kind at a hip-hop event.
He believes this was a drive-by shooting that didn’t start at his business.
”This type of band has caused problems before, so they know this,” Bolton said. “And they need to have a little more concern for the neighborhood.”
Locals ask why Toot’s Tavern doesn’t hire armed security for their events.
Owners say it would cost too much to handle that liability insurance.
As far as public safety, it’s up to Crockett residents if they want to create a bigger budget for more deputies to patrol the area.
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