Businesses react to Shockoe Bottom shooting

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - People in Shockoe Bottom say they're tired of violence giving their neighborhood a bad name.

Violence like this troubles John Van Peppen. He's opening a high-end restaurant a block away on the corner of 17th and Main.

He says people thought he was crazy for moving to Shockoe Bottom.

"'You're going to Shockoe Bottom, oh my gosh murders, killings,'" he said.

He says cases like this scare potential customers away.

The city has tried implementing noise ordinances and increasing police patrols to cut down on violence in this area.

Van Peppen says there's only one way to get rid of violent crimes in Shockoe Bottom.

"The only way for that to disappear is if restaurants and businesses open," he said.  "We re-gentrify the neighborhood. You know, we take it back."

Mark Nagel likes to go out in Shockoe Bottom and says violence like this is happening far too often.

"It seems like it's always something new every day," Nagel said.  "A shooting, a road rage issue, bar fights or something. It's relatively harmless during the day but at night, it's on the drop of a dime something will happen."

But others say cases like this are just isolated incidents.

"It's safe and these things are going to happen whether they choose to have them in a different neighborhood or this neighborhood," said Nicholas Bates.  "The(se) things are going to happen."

Still some like Van Peppen are putting their money where their mouth is. He says he hopes more upscale businesses will drive away people looking for trouble.

"We're trying to create a great experience for the Bottom," Van Peppen said.  "Something people can really enjoy and come back here. This is a beautiful, old building here and I'm looking for a Renaissance here."

Police say the investigation into this shooting is still ongoing. If you have any information you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

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