Eastside Reunion organizers denies rumors connecting event to weekend shootings
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Organizers of a neighborhood event on the city’s east side said on Sunday the rumors spread on social media connecting the event to area shootings are false.
The Eastside Reunion is a bi-annual event put together by residents to celebrate the neighborhood, the people who live in it and raise awareness of neighborhood conditions. On Saturday, nearly 400 people gathered at Coquillard Park for the 2019 Eastside Reunion.
Mozell Bowens, the chair of the Eastside Reunion committee, said St. Joseph County Police officers were hired as security during the event. He said the event ended at 6 p.m. and South Bend Police officers helped to direct traffic leaving the park.
The South Bend Police Department reported two shootings near the park that occurred an hour after the reunion ended.
Bowens wrote the following statement to ABC 57 News to dispel rumors shared online claiming the shootings were connected to the reunion:
“On behalf of the Eastside Reunion Committee, I first would like to thank each and every person that came to the 2019 Eastside Reunion. We appreciate everyone for having another successful reunion, we had an awesome time and it was great to see faces we haven't seen in years. This would not have been possible without the hard work of our committee members who are second to none. With that being said...let clear the air and set the record straight. The reunion was successfully and officially over at 6 p.m. Our four St. Joseph County Sheriffs did an awesome job keeping order and peace in the park and was paid and released from their job. So while the committee members were busy cleaning up the park...there were two unfortunate incidents that took place OUTSIDE OF THE PARK. The 1st incident occurred at Bissell St and Arthur...NOT IN THE PARK. The 2nd happened somewhere in the vicinity of Walsh and Cedar St...DEFINITELY NOT IN THE PARK. Everyone in the park was not harmed, as a matter of fact, the shootings were not even heard in the park. We would like to thank the S.B.P.D. for their response of the shootings and for them protecting the rest of us who was still in the park. Again...thank you S.B.P.D. So let's be very clear...the 2019 Eastside Reunion had nothing to do with these two sad situations. Let's all pray for all families who now have been affected by senseless, cowardly ignorance.”
Bowens said he cannot confirm or deny if the victims or any suspects were at the reunion on Saturday. According to police, they have no suspects at this time.