Patrolling downtown Columbia one week after shooting

Two officers patrol downtown Columbia Thursday night.

It's been one week since shots rang out in the heart of downtown Columbia, and mid-Missouri residents want to know what the Columbia Police Department is doing to keep downtown safe.

CPD's Downtown Unit typically has four officers patrolling downtown on foot or bike. They get one weekend off per month, and that happened to be last weekend.

Usually when the Downtown Unit has off, two officers from the nearby 70 Beat are assigned to patrol downtown. But last Friday, Officer Skyler Williamson was the only officer assigned to downtown.

He was just a block away from where the shots were fired at the time.

"I heard the shots fired from Hitt and Broadway and I found an immediate point of cover. And everyone that was around I tried to get them to cover too and waited for some backup officers," Williamson told KRCG 13 Thursday evening.

There are eight surveillance cameras downtown, including one right above the scene of the shooting at 10th and Broadway.

But because an officer was manually manipulating the camera to look at a different location at the time, the camera did not capture the shooting.

"We might be looking where we think there may be a problem and something could happen on the other side of the view of the camera," CPD Sergeant Candy Cornman of the Downtown Unit said.

"And that can happen even on a fixed camera and...when we're not manipulating [the moving] cameras they're on a timer so they move randomly back and forth through their view point.If that's occurring, it could have been looking the opposite direction regardless of whether or not we were manipulating it."

Sgt. Cornman said she thinks serious incidents like last Friday's shooting are rare in the downtown area; she's been in charge of the Downtown Unit for six months and this is the first incident of the sort.

Iron Tiger Tattoo Parlor is located right at the scene of the shooting, and one employee said that he thinks there's been an increase in crime in recent years.

"I've been in these parts a long time, I definitely think it's more dangerous now than it was when I was a student back in the late 90's. But a lot of things have changed since then around here," Casey Maddox said.

Most of the residents that spoke with KRCG 13 said despite last week's shooting, they will continue to go downtown.