BLADENSBURG — The small, tight-knit Bladensburg community is struggling to make sense of recent crimes, which have left some feeling uneasy about their safety in an area which does not usually have much crime.
At Butler’s Family Restaurant on Monday, neighbors talked about the homicide on Dennis Church Road on Sunday morning. Lifelong resident Jean Davis was shot outside her home before she was able to leave for church.
Recent burglaries of several homes and storage buildings, the local fire department and the elementary school already had many in the community on edge.
“People are very nervous down here,” said Don Rine, who has lived in the area for many years. “We’ve had two shootings in the last month, and that’s something that doesn’t ever happen in this county.”
A shooting near Martinsburg on Nov. 29 left a Mount Vernon man seriously injured. Two unknown men allegedly attacked Nick Wallace and Frank Thompson at a house on Divan Road.
Knox County Sheriff David Barber said the perpetrators in the Divan Road shooting have not yet been apprehended, but said he and his detectives are confident that shooting is not related to the recent thefts and burglaries in any way.
“The shooting on Divan Road has absolutely nothing to do with recent break-ins and burglaries,” Barber said Monday evening.
“It is still too early to speculate whether or not this homicide [on Dennis Church Road] had anything to do with the other burglaries,” he said.
The pickup truck belonging to Jean Davis, which was taken at the time of her murder, was recovered Monday night in Licking County.
Residents having lunch Monday at Butler’s Family Restaurant said they hope the killer or killers will be brought to justice soon, to give the community peace of mind again.
Most agreed they regularly see sheriff’s deputies in the area, but said they still feel nervous with crimes happening so close to home.
“I’m not knocking the sheriff’s office,” said Rine. “They’ve got a lot of territory and only so many men.”
Barber said neighbors watching out for each other may be the key to solving these crimes. He has urged anyone with information about the break-ins, Divan Road shooting or Dennis Church Road homicide to share what they know with investigators.
The sheriff said even small details or reports of unfamiliar vehicles in the area could be critical to detectives.