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Double shooting leaves Wilson residents scared, angry

Wilson meeting addresses violence in borough

A rash of violent crime in one borough in Northampton County has residents seeing red.Last week, Susan Counterman sat in an alley near her home with a man who'd just been shot.

The shooting still haunts her a week later.

"I didn't even want to be home," on Sunday, she said. "It was playing in my head."

She's not the only one still haunted by last week's week's double shooting in the 1500 block of Washington Street. A standing-room-only crowd of Wilson residents packed Monday night's borough council meeting to ask officials for help.

"When I have to sit on my front porch with my .9 mm, that's enough," said resident Amerigo Paoline.

He and other residents say the shooting July 20 was the final straw. Two men - Shane Walden and Latek Smith, both 22 and from New York City - were shot and wounded that afternoon.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for 18-year-old Tchella Bellamy, but Wilson police Chief Steven Parkansky said Monday that it might be a difficult case to make because Walden and Smith haven't been forthcoming about the shooting.

Walden has also been charged with drug possession, having tossed 52 bags of cocaine as he ran from the shooting.

"Chances are this will never get prosecuted, because we won't have any victims," the chief said.

The real victims, Parkansky said, are the residents who want no part in the drug trade.

It was a raucous meeting, with residents and council members talking over each other. People blamed a lack of police presence, landlords who rent to the wrong people, and the drug trade itself.

Borough officials stressed again and again that residents need to call police as they witness illegal activity, and encouraged them to join Wilson's fledgling block watch.

And Councilman Russ Lipari told residents to attend next week's National Night Out, scheduled for Tuesday evening in the borough's Meuser Park. Wilson and a number of other local communities participate in the annual event, which is designed to get people more involved in their neighborhoods.

"Get to know who people are," Lipari said. "Start a block watch on every block in the borough if you have to."

The borough's block watch has been in existence for a few years, but thus far has only four members.

About 10 times that many people attended the meeting Monday. Resident Anna Odyssey said that number only represents some of the Wilson residents worried about crime in their community.

"A lot of people were scared to come," she said.

(Photo captions: Wilson Councilman Russ Lipari speaks to residents.

Residents Anna and Blaze Odyssey listen to speakers at Monday's Wilson council meeting.)

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