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Violence near Pershing Court concerns Uniontown officials, residents

| Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 7:26 p.m.

Uniontown city officials and East End residents will meet next week with Pershing Court management and its owners, Cross Gate, to discuss ongoing violence and shootings that plague the community.

The public meeting was to take place Wednesday following the regular city council meeting. However, city officials announced that the meeting has been rescheduled for 4 p.m. Sept. 11 at City Hall.

“We've sent the meeting request to the top executives at Cross Gate,” said Uniontown Mayor Ed Fike. “Hopefully, we can get some answers from management. I'm hoping that it's a very productive meeting.”

For the past few months, East End residents have expressed concerns, saying they are living in fear because of violence and shootings near the Pershing Court housing complex.

Despite their complaints, East End residents said the violence has continued. As a result, Uniontown Police Chief Jason Cox and council members met last month with the concerned citizens.

Fike said he understands why East End residents are afraid, because shots were fired recently through his apartment located above Park's Casino on Connellsville Street. The mayor said the bullets missed him by about 7 feet.

Fike, who said the East End is his home, heart and life, said no mayor or police chief could possibly clean up the mess without the support of the entire East End community.

Last month, he suggested that residents and the community join together for the betterment of the East End community. At that time, the mayor vowed to set up a public meeting in an effort to crack down on crime in the East End.

The Rev. Dr. Gary Yarbrough, pastor of Assembly of God for Christ Church, has been representing a group of nine black churches of the East End Ministerial Alliance that are very concerned about the violence.

Yarbrough suggested that city council and residents write letters and sign petitions that were sent to Pershing Court management, urging them to take action.

If Pershing Court management does not respond to the complaints, Yarbrough said residents are prepared to contact representatives of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for assistance.

In addition to crime in the East End, Cox said city and state police recently made an arrest in a string of daytime burglaries that occurred in the city and South Union Township.

“The public called the police and gave us information,” Cox said. “The police were able to make the arrest based on the information we received. We want to thank the community for helping us.”

Cox said a rash of criminal mischief occurred in the city and township Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

“We had 33 reports of someone using BB guns or pellet guns to break windshields and windows in vehicles,” Cox said. “Because of the nature of the crime, we have very little evidence. We're asking the public to call us if they have information that could lead to an arrest.”

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

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