Spruce St. residents worry for safety of children, future of neighborhood
MANCHESTER — Residents and business owners of the Spruce Street neighborhood where a 17-year-old was shot Friday morning say they are worried by escalating violence that authorities have said it gang related.
“Every other day, there’s another one,” said Rayna Miranda, as she watched her granddaughter play outside a home on Spruce Street Friday. “I’ll have to read tomorrow to see if there’s another one tonight.”
Miranda didn’t seem surprised to hear authorities say a string of recent shootings — at least three of nine separate incidents since May 24 — involve two groups they identify in court documents as the OTL — Orange to Laurel streets — and the “180,” kicked off by a riot March 2 outside 141 Laurel St.
“One side does something, then the other gets back,” said Miranda. “Just get inside before something happens again.”
Police believe Friday’s shooting occurred in the vicinity of an apartment building at 294 Spruce St., across the street from Mr. Market convenience store.
“I didn’t see anything, but people coming to my store are talking about it this morning and all day,” said Mahesh Patel, owner of Mr. Market. “They don’t act surprised by it, they seem nervous.”
Patel said the idea that a shooting may have occurred outside his store didn’t make him feel worried or threatened.
“Since they put a camera in at the intersection, it keeps an eye outside the store,” said Patel, pointing to a traffic light system hanging above the intersection. “It’s been better out here since they put that in.”
A couple blocks from the latest shooting scene, Maria Curit and young Alayna were taking a walk past Ray Cross Field. Curit said the news has her worried.
“I don’t like it,” said Curit. “I don’t want to be out in the heat with her, but I don’t want to go out when it gets late and cools down, ‘cause that’s when the cars start rolling through here. I stay in.”
“I don’t know if they (gang members) are from Manchester, I don’t know where they’re from,” said Hector Pirego, as he headed into Mr. Market. “They’re here. That’s what I’m worried about. Where’s the next one gonna be?”