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Neighborhoods left shaken after string of shootings, including one fatality

Posted at 8:54 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 23:36:36-04

WACO, TX — A string of shootings has rocked several Waco neighborhoods. Those who know Brookview say the recent violence will hurt this neighborhood.

"The neighborhood has maybe some burglary problems but never anything like this in a long time," said Robert Gager Shepherd's Heart Food Pantry.

Few people know the Brookview neighborhood better than Gager. He came years ago to a neighborhood in decline and watched it recover.

He worries Monday morning's shootings might undo years of prayer over these streets.

”I think some of the walking traffic that you have here, when evening comes, it'll be gone,” he said.

The Waco Police Department says the three shootings, including one fatal, have been connected through a social media dating app.

But as bad as crime gets, Gager doesn't think it will stop visits to his food pantry.

”The hunger will outweigh the fear. When we do our distribution, it's between noon and 6 on Thursday and this neighborhood is just full of cars," he said.

All this comes in the middle of a busy year for Waco shootings, including a drug-related incident in North Waco and a man found dead near McLennan Community College, among others.

People have taken notice, but the shootings haven't caused much worry yet.

”I'm not really worried,” said Belton Thompson, who blames young, idle hands.

”I think they need to go back to school. I think it's kids, I think it's kids," he said.

Another shooting, one that happened in the middle of 11th Street Wednesday night, remains under investigation.

"It's very hard because of the way my son lost his life," said Pastor Otho Zachary, who learned the news late

One Wednesday, one of his son, Keith Barrier, was gunned down in the middle of 11th Street near Colcord after apparently trying to break up a fight. Police found him lying in the road with bullet casings all around.

This year's rash of shootings have proven worrisome for Waco residents and police who call some of it gang-related.

So far there's no gang connection to the most recent shootings, which killed an unidentified man Monday morning, and last Wednesday's shooting that left rapper Keith Barrier dead.

Pastor Zachary had reconciled with his son in recent years, as the hip-hop artist help him build his ministry.

”This here, is out of all I've been through as a pastor, this year is something more than i ever have dealt with in my life,” he said.

One good thing, Pastor Zachary says his son accepted Christ as his savior days before his murder. He believes the person who killed his son and witnesses to the murder have an obligation.

”I pray that you'll be man enough to come forward and confess what you done,” said the pastor. "I was at awe, at how many people loved, and how many lives my son touched, and I know there is somebody out there who knows, and I'm askin' you.... it ain't about bein' a snitch. It's about coming forth and solving this mystery."

Pastor Zachary says any bit of information will lead to the murderer. Anyone can make an an anonymous tip to Waco Crimestoppers by calling 254-753-HELP.