NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess spent much of Tuesday afternoon touring Northwoods Mall and speaking with store managers.
It comes after three people were shot at the mall on St. Valentine’s Day.
Chief Burgess and several civil rights leaders met in the mall’s Food Court, where police say the shooting occurred, before walking from store-to-store meeting with managers and associates as they discussed safety.
For Chief Burgess – the tour of Northwoods Mall was more than making a presence – he says taking action is important to protect a place his community and family frequent.
“My wife goes to “Bed, Bath & Beyond” over there,” says Chief Burgess “I mean she does (shop at the mall), my daughter and my son. Never do we think when we come here that it is going to affect us in any kind of negative way.”
An area of major focus for Chief Burgess, NCPD and the mall’s management company is to increase security and officer patrols in and around the mall. An eventual goal is to add a kiosk inside a common area where an officer can be stationed to develop relationships and have a presence.
“When you see law enforcement either outside in the common area or in the common area (inside), you know as a bad guy that you don’t want to deal with that,” says Chief Burgess.
For some shoppers who Chief Burgess spoke with, they said they were skeptical to shop at the mall following Sunday’s shooting but feel more confident knowing community activists and local law enforcement have their back.
In a statement on Monday, Chief Burgess said the North Charleston Police Department and CBL Properties Mall Management are conducting meetings to discuss what happened on Sunday, and will develop an action plan aimed at providing more deterrent effects throughout the mall.
“Our goals are the same and that is to provide a peaceful environment for all to enjoy their shopping experience,” said Chief Burgess. “It is not acceptable to tolerate this type of violence at any level in our community and the police department remains committed to reducing violence in our city.
State Representative JA Moore visited the mall on Monday to speak with business owners. He wanted to show solidarity and support after three people were wounded in that shooting.
Rep. Moore said that he is “committed to passing meaningful laws to prevent future shootings.”
During Tuesday’s walk-through, Chief Burgess said two of the victims in Sunday’s shooting have been released from the hospital and the third is in “good condition.”
News 2’s Riley Benson will have a full report on Tuesday’s event with Chief Burgess on News 2 at 4, 5, and 6pm.