Patricia Mullins couldn’t hear the gunshots over her vacuum Sunday evening, Jan. 26, despite their close proximity to her home.
Terry “T.J.” Monahan, 16, was found at a house on Locust Avenue’s 1800 block dead with a gunshot wound on Jan. 26, according to a release by Putnam County Sheriff’s officer Capt. Homer “Gator” DeLoach. A person of interest was interviewed, and the investigation is ongoing, according to the release.
Neighbors said the victim’s family had only been in the area for a few months. The family seemed quiet and was only seen in passing.
Residents described the Palatka neighborhood where the shooting took place as mostly quiet, but more dangerous in recent years due to an increasing drug presence.
Mullins, a retiree, said she has lived on Locust Avenue for 50 years, the same place where she raised her four sons. In the evenings she’d usually see kids riding bikes and skateboards and playing basketball.
The incident reminded her of a shooting that happened years ago, one that took place only a few houses down from her. Mullins said the street has had a series of break-ins lately.
“It’s really getting scary around here,” she said.
Homemaker Charlann Ricks, 59, was cooking when her husband, James, came in saying he’d heard the gunshots.
She said she’s lived on the street for about a year, and is afraid to continue raising her grandchildren in the area. Charlann said she is even afraid to walk around the neighborhood at night.
“I’m scared to go out,” she said. “It’s just so bad. It’s such a shame.”
She hopes that a greater police presence would make the neighborhood seem safer.
Christi Bellamy, 50, said she’s lived around the neighborhood her whole life and even as a kid knew which houses to stay away from because they were rumored to be drug dens.
Sunday evening, she was leaving for church when she saw lights and police around the house. She said it seemed like trouble has had an increasing presence on Locust Avenue.
“Around here, you know to stay out of the way,” she said.