DES MOINES, IOWA — A business owner is wanting change after another gun-related incident occurred last weekend.

Just one year ago, the Court Avenue Entertainment District had fences and private security surrounding several blocks. Even with the fencing there were several shots fired incidents in the Summer of 2021. Now the business owners need to provide their own security, if they can afford it, but violence is still occurring.

Last Saturday a man was shot in the leg at the 200 block of Court Avenue.

“We are still sorting through it,” said Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department. “There was a fight and somebody pulled out a gun.”

The man is expected to be okay according to Sgt. Parizek. The shooting happened right outside Chummy, and the owner has reached a boiling point.

“It tends to happen right outside my door and it’s not necessarily my customers, but it is scary for my customers leaving my establishment,” said Eric Hartung, Owner of Chummy and The Copper Cup. “And for my staff just wanting to be safe and to know there is a gunshot happening 5 yards outside my front door is extremely concerning for the safety of everyone down here.”

Hartung is frustrated because some of his customers don’t come by later in the night anymore due to the violence that has occurred in the entertainment district over the last year. He said that it is not on law enforcement, he wants the city and county to take action. From last summer to this summer he said the violence has continued to stay steady.

“I think it is still consistent after close. The streets are a little chaotic,” said Hartung. “The police are doing their best, running their lights and sirens trying to clear the streets. It has gotten to the point where the customers know, the element is not worrisome of that anymore. And they are continuing to loiter and causing problems that have been going on for over a year now.”

There were a couple of shootings in Spring of 2021 and right when the fences were installed in the early Summer of 2021. There was also a pair of shootings in October of 2021.

“We had several incidents back to back and I think that gave everyone the impression that it is the wild west down there,” said Parizek. “The one thing that we have kept constant is our police presence and working with those businesses to make sure that we can intervene in these issues before they become something violent like that.”

Parizek said there had been less gun violence so far in 2022 but acknowledged that people are still carrying weapons down in the entertainment district. He added that patrolling the districts on the weekends remains high priority, as the police play a massive role in clearing out the streets when the bars close down at night.