ERIE, PA (ENN) – Erie’s beautiful waterfront is not so lovely lately when the sun goes down.
Erie police say they are well aware of the problem. “Heavy drinking and partying is going on now, fights are breaking out, business owners down there are having problems caused for not only the businesses but the patrons coming in and out of the businesses,” said Rick Lorah, deputy chief of the criminal investigation division.
The dock area around Dobbins Landing, bars, restaurants and hotels and the foot of State Street is the big trouble spot. But over the weekend, a fight at neaby Lampe Marina and Campground led to a fight where a 22-year-old woman was shot in the back, suffering critical injuries.
The woman was rushed to UPMC Hamot Trauma Center by two bystanders in their car.
Police gathered a lot of forensic evidence at the scene, including cell phones, a concealed carry permit belonging to Essence Magee, a spent 9mm casing and a black pistol magazine containing more 9mm rounds.
A short time later, Magee, 23, turned herself in at the police station. “A female came to the front counter and turned herself in and that female has been charged with aggravated assault and other gun related charges in connection with that gunshot victim,” Deputy Chief Lorah said.
Erie police say they are beefing up their presence on the dock. It’s something business owners appreciate, including Rum Runner’s owner Tim Sedney who owns a total of five bayfront businesses appreciates. “It’s huge for us we are seasonal,” Sedney said. “We need to make all of our money in a short amount of time we have five months basically, my bills don’t go away in the wintertime. It’s very important that the police takes a presence down here and starts to step up patrols.”
“You know we want everyone to enjoy the dock we want everyone to be safe and have a good time,” Deputy Chief Lorah said. “So we’ve increased our presence down there. We’re going to put specialized patrols down there to make sure everyone is…able to have a good time and enjoy Erie’s downtown and enjoy the dock.”
Security is handled by not only Erie police but Port Authority police and private security hired by the businesses. Business are looking for additional solutions, including ideas such as better lighting and perhaps posting the dock area to prohibit loitering, loud music and alcohol.