SILVER SPRING, Md.– Gun violence was at the forefront of the City Council of Hyattsville’s meeting last week.
Patricia Welch began the public comment portion of the evening by shedding light on the Sept. 26 shooting of Leonard Shand near the Mall at Prince George’s.
49-year-old Shand charged at police with a knife in each hand behind the Mall at Prince George’s on East-West Highway. In response, ten police officers fired their weapons, killing him.
“I have lived here 52 years and never have I heard of a shooting like that,” said Welch. “We all need to have the answers as to why—regardless of what it is.”
Greg Smith, another participant in the public comment, echoed Welch’s sentiments.
“We have to have the discussion to figure out how to do better. Nobody feels good on either side of an incident like this—ever,” said Smith.
However, Chuck Perry, a real estate professional from Ward Three, said that though Thursday’s events would appear to be something out of the unusual, it has happened to him personally in Montgomery County, Harford County and Charles County, as well as Prince George’s County.
“It’s not unusual at all that these kinds of things happen with the way police respond to individuals—particularly black individuals,” said Perry.
Perry feels that the police are not trying to de escalate situations, but rather establish a “command presence.”
“I’m gonna kind of take the police off the hook here. I think the problem is right in front of me right now,” said Perry. “I think it’s the political leadership that has failed the people in terms of dealing with the issue of homelessness, inequality and mental illness.”
Welch suggested that there should be more “mental support groups” to help those who are on the streets. She specifically referenced those with mental illnesses on Belcrest Road that she says are walking around “talking to themselves.”
After the impassioned public comments, the council moved on to the presentation of a check to Special Olympics of Prince George’s County as well as discussion of the continued drafting of the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail.
The council also proclaimed Hyattsville’s support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month.