Candace Summerall says add her family to the list of those who’ve now been affected by crime in Savannah. Wednesday night her 14 year old son and four of his friends were just finishing up playing basketball at Daffin Park. It was about 7:30 p.m. As they were going toward their bikes parked just feet from the basketball court, they say a man approached the boys.” And as we were walking he came out and pulled out his gun,” says Holden Summerall. “He told us all to stop and give him our phones, but I just kept on going because I wasn’t about to stay.”
Summerall says he and another friend ran as fast as they could until they felt safe. He says the boys had noticed the man kind of hanging out near the basketball court and it make them nervous but they weren’t sure what to do.
“For something like this to happen so close to your back door, this isn’t happening to people people you don’t know anymore this is happening to people you do know,” said Holden’s mom Candace Summerall. “It’s neighbors, kids and that’s the thing that bothers me, it’s right here in our back yard, right here. “And for this to happen right here during a regular evening time period I think that this is horrible.and it should not happen,” she said.
Mrs. Summerall says Holden won’t be allowed to come back to the park unless something changes. At this point, she won’t get any argument from him. “I don’t really feel comfortable coming back here all that much anymore because of what happened,” he told us.”
We did some checking and found that since January, 21 crimes have been reported in the park or just at the edge of the park. But when we expanded our search and included neighborhoods near the park, the list of crimes got bigger.
“It is happening at parks more and more and (crime) is happening at that park more and more,” says Julian Miller who recently won the election for the 4th district Alderman on the Savannah City Council. He takes office in January but is already getting familiar with city workings, attending the city council meeting on Thursday. “Daffin has the basketball court there but it’s also across the street from a school and from a lot of neighborhoods,” Miller said.
Miller says in this case, that police have a description of a suspect because they had cooperation from the boys. Having cooperation is good, he said. “But what we didn’t have was enough officers to have that park adequately patrolled at the time,” Miller told me.. He also said he doesn’t know of any surveillance cameras there. He ran on an election platform that we have to do more to tackle crime and says more police officers and surveillance cameras may be a good start.
“You’re trying to help build a community that is supposed to be idyllic, that matches what Savannah looks like and for something like this to happen so close to your back door, it really makes you think,” says Candace Summerall.
Police described the suspect as a short heavy set Black male in his late teens, wearing a long sleeved white shirt, black vest and blue and white sneakers. The suspect was last seen running toward Victory Drive.