LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – It’s been a little more than a month since the Downtown Management District beefed up its safety protocols by increasing patrols from Fayette County deputies in the area during the weekend.
The patrols come after 2 homicides less than 6 months apart in the Victorian Square Parking Garage.
Lauren Keenan was working at On the Rocks liquor store the night John “Ty” Abner was beaten to death around the parking deck. Less than 6 months later, Michael Yocom was the victim of another shooting in the same location.
Keenan was working both nights. She said, “I was the one that called for the young man, and it was my first night back on night shift and I had to hear the screams and stuff, so I’ve been mindful of that. Then when we heard about it we were just like again. Really. It’s senseless.”
The violence prompted the reactivation of Fayette County deputy patrols.
Sheriff Kathy Witt said the partnership between her department and the Downtown Management District was put on hold because of the pandemic, but there is once again a need for extra security.
Sheriff Witt said, “We have a foot patrol going on midweek through the weekend and we are specifically asked to stay in the Victorian Square Garage.”
Now, a handful of deputies roam the city streets keeping an eye on downtown weekend crowds. The goal is to deter crime by having that increased presence.
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Witt continued, “It’s one thing to feel safe. We want people to be safe and to be able to come downtown not worry that an incident is going to happen that puts their safety in jeopardy.”
Fayette County deputies aren’t the only ones on watch, businesses along Short Street said they’ve noticed the presence too.
Keenan added, “It’s an entirely different scenario. A totally different perspective. Back then we would be like where are the police why is there no presence unless someone needed to be called down here. Now they’re here and people know they’re here and they are less likely to act of line knowing they could get in trouble. “
Since the added patrols, most of the incidents deputies have responded to concern small disorders and public drunkenness.