Police reports reveal Skatium has recently been a 'problem' property

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by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on July 9, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 10 at 3:59 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Two young boys, just 13 and 15 years old, remain in serious condition Monday after they were shot outside a south St. Louis skating rink.

It happened early Sunday morning, just after the rink closed.

Neighbors call Skatium a problem property and News 4 found out the calls to police back up those claims.

News 4 obtained a copy of all police reports made on this property since the beginning of the year.

Destruction of property, burglary, disturbing the peace, and seven different reports for car break-ins, some numbering a dozen at a time.

Police say the problems have gotten worse in the past month. Residents in the area described the scene Sunday as chaotic.

“It was just a massive group of people over there, screaming, hollering and fighting,” said Stephen Brooks, a resident who lives nearby.

Police believe a fight inside escalated and spilled outside.

“One gentleman went to his car, got a pistol out of his trunk and actually shot the two teenagers,” said Detective Sergeant Tony Lachenicht of the SLPD.  “It sounds like he just walked right up and fired shots right at them.”

That gunman, described as about 18 years old, allegedly shot a 13-year-old in the chest and hit a 15-year-old in the back and jaw.

Police say it’s the fourth weekend in a row they’ve been called for problems stemming from the rink.

“Two weekends ago, the police showed up down there and it was just a group of kids 50-100 kids just going down Broadway, yelling screaming, kicking cars,” said Detective Sergeant Lachnicht.

Neighboring bar owners say it’s also scaring off business, and the owner of Skatium needs to up his security.

“It’s been terrible,” said Rob Hayes, a neighboring business owner. “What he really needs is a lot of security. If he’s going to keep doing what he’s doing, he needs a lot of security.

Skatium’s owner declined to talk to on camera but says he did require four adults to supervise the skaters on Saturday night plus his three employees.

None of them are actual security guards and he says he can’t control what happens outside, but the rink owner does tell News 4 he plans to install security cameras.

That’s welcome news for neighbors, and roller derby girls who practice at the facility.

Sherry smith/skatium customer 03:10 - 03:28

“Our car windows get broken all the time,” said customer Sherry Smith. “Happened last Tuesday to one of the girls; her car got stolen.”

Even with the plans to improve the security, residents are still uneasy.

“I’m trying to raise a family and i can’t even let my kids come out and play because of stuff like that,” said Brooks.

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