ATLANTA -- The anger was still raw on Coleman Street, half a day after a gun battle raged past this spot. Late Thursday, residents were angrily arguing on the sidewalk, pointing fingers, accusing each other of complicity in the woes that have choked this Pittsburgh community hotspot for years.
BACKGROUND | 11-year-old hospitalized after shooting
The day's anger is "not because of last night's incident," said Pastor Anita Favors, founder of the Jars of Clay Church. "This is every day. The people have lost hope."
A woman drinking a beer points. "They're selling dope out of this house, this house, this house, that house." She won't identify herself, but says she's done time in the state prison system. The tattoo above her clavicle says "big dog's b-tch," exposed by a dirty tank top t-shirt. "I'm mad as hell, sir," she tells a reporter during a calm moment. She says police implicated and arrested her 21 year old son in the gunbattle -- wrongly, she says.
Residents say the gunfight was between competing gangs who openly deal drugs on this stretch of Coleman St. One of the shots struck an 11 year old boy, a bystander who happened to be outside as the violence erupted. The boy was recovering from a gunshot wound to his shoulder, still hospitalized Thursday.
"There were a lot of children on the street last night," Favors said. "Every night, there's gunshots. Every night, there's drug sales."
She says the church cancelled a children's Halloween party Wednesday night because she sensed the mood on Coleman St. had grown especially ugly. "So we cancelled it two days prior. And then a day later, we have a shooting of a child."
"These people are the drug dealers," says the woman with the neck tattoo. "Look at the drugs that's being sold right now." She points to a young man in a yellow shirt, walking toward an SUV idling at the intersection of Coleman and Arthur Sts. "Go right down the street. They ask for a bag of dope. He's going to serve 'em." She hears somebody up the street encourage her be more discreet. "I don't give a (darn)," she answers. "I'm telling on everybody!"
"And this isn't Friday night. You should see Fridays," Pastor Favors says.