Fayetteville Residents Fired Up Over Downtown Trouble Spot
Posted August 18, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE — Downtown Fayetteville is trying to beat its reputation as a danger zone. But two recent murders at a motel in the heart of the city has people questioning their safety.
Fayetteville Police consider the Days Inn a trouble spot. They have been called out to the motel 130 times in the last seven months. Now the violence threatens two of the city's most visible features.
"I heard the gunshots the other night and I turned over and went back to sleep because I'm used to it. It was no big deal," says resident Lucy Wofford.
Wofford, who lives in the historic Haymount area, is talking about Haymount's backyard neighbor -- the Days Inn.
Wofford heard the shots that killed a man early Wednesday morning. But it was not the first time. Just five months ago, a Fayetteville man was shot and killed in the motel's parking lot.
"It could have been tragic for us," says neighbor Lynn Pryer. "Half of the rounds were not found. They were all fired in this direction towards my house. Six of them were not found ... they could have come up over this hill where my grandchildren play."
Crime at the motel is not just a Haymount concern. The motel sits just a few blocks from where the new Airborne and Special Operations Museum is being built.
"With the museum opening something's got to be done with it. I mean you do not want to have that many visitors coming to Fayetteville and that be one of the first things they see," says Wofford.
And beginning Monday, a charter school will open at the motel with students attending classes in 20 of the rooms.
"Over the years there's been a steady stream of traffic at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. What's going on? We all know and suspect drugs, prostitution," says Pryer.
Neighbors say the motel owner has agreed to meet with them and make the necessary changes to make the neighborhood safer. If he does not, neighbors say they will go to city leaders to try and force him to take action.