Mishawaka Community responds to recent violence in the city
"I was upset that a park of this magnitude that the city built for us, the citizens, and we had a shooting here," retired Mishawaka Police Officer Dennis Hess said.
With two shootings in a week, some said the timing of this is what's hardest to grasp.
"Stop shooting each other, I guess," said John Smoker who works in Mishawaka. "It's Christmas time. We're supposed to set aside our differences and enjoy the moment."
Hess said these violent acts left him thinking about his family.
"As a parent and a grandfather, to come through here and know that there was violence that was done here that could have been death, that concerns me," Hess said.
Police said they are still investigating both shootings, but did make an arrest in the arson fire. Police have accused Anthony Ware of intentionally setting two fires at Hickory Village Apartments earlier this month. He's been charged with two felony counts of arson and one misdemeanor count of making a false statement to police. Mishawaka Police Chief Ken Witkowski said in a statement late Wednesday afternoon "We have, unfortunately, experienced two high profile events in the last week. Although different in nature, we do not feel there is a danger or concern for the safety of the citizens of our City. These recent incidents appear to be isolated and are not random acts of violence. Charges have been filed in the arson at Hickory Village, and the shooting incident at Central Park is being investigated by (St. Joseph County) Metro Homicide. The Mishawaka Police Department will continue to maintain a professional standard in providing public safety and is vigilant in protecting the citizens of our community."
Hess said he has faith that the Mishawaka Police Department will solve these cases.
"I'm proud of my city," Hess said. "I'm proud to have served my city, and I'm proud of our police department. They will solve this. I have no doubts."
Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood was not available for comment on this story. As of this publication, the St. Joseph County Homicide Unit was reporting the victim on life support in critical condition from Tuesday night's double shooting in Central Park was still in that condition.