Danville City Council members express sorrow over fatal mall shooting

Danville City Council members lamented the Saturday night homicide at Danville Mall, with one pointing out that even though the city’s violent crime rate has plummeted over the years, there is still work to be done.

“We are making progress, but we still have work to do,” Councilman Lee Vogler said during council’s regular meeting Tuesday night.

The city must continue its efforts to denounce shootings, Councilman Barry Mayo said.

“Talk to these youth,” Mayo said. “Parents, if you’re listening, talk to them, let them know that the weapon is not the way to go.”

He added that the fatal shooting of Tyshais Dashawn King, 26, bothered him greatly and left him unable to sleep.

It was the sixth homicide in Danville so far this year. There were seven homicides in the city in 2021.

The Danville Police Department identified 18-year-old Christian Isiah Pinckney as the suspect accused of killing King, of Danville. Pinckney was arrested Tuesday in Burlington, North Carolina.

It was about 7:15 p.m. Saturday when the suspect pulled out a gun and shot King, a customer at Hibbett Sports in Danville Mall. The suspect then ran from the scene.

The victim was taken by emergency personnel from the scene with what police said were life-threatening injuries. King died at the hospital, police said.

Danville Vice Mayor Gary Miller said, “Back in the day, if somebody disrespected you, you had a fistfight or punched them in the nose and then you went out and had a drink together. You made up. Now, somebody pulls out a gun and that can be final.”

King’s death means all of his potential, his possible impact on the future, is gone, Miller added.

“We’ve got to do something to keep our young people from resorting to violence like this over an argument,” Miller said.

Vogler offered his thoughts and prayers for the families of the victim and the perpetrator, adding that the incident was “extremely tragic.”

“For one young man to lose his life and for another to essentially throw away his life as well, it’s incredibly sad,” Vogler said.

However, he added that he didn’t want the homicide to diminish the work that has been done by the Danville Police Department to reduce crime.

He also alluded to Pinckney’s graduation from Project Imagine, a city program aimed at steering gang-affiliated teens away from the streets and toward a more productive future.

Project Imagine has had 84 graduates so far, the vast majority of which have been extremely successful, Vogler said.

As for the city’s violent crime rate, it has steadily decreased over the past several years. The number of homicides increased slightly from five in 2020 to seven in 2021, but that bump came in the middle of an overall decline.

Danville saw 17 homicides in 2016, before seeing small drops to 13 in 2017 and 11 in 2018. The city had a total of just 20 from 2019-21, according to statistics presented by the police department in February.

Other items

In other matters, Danville City Council voted 8-0 to eliminate the annual license fee for small businesses in the city bringing in less than $100,000 in yearly revenue.

Councilmen also voted 8-0 to rescind a moral obligation agreement with American National Bank for a $26.5 million loan to White Mill Shell & Commercial, LLC, for the $85 million White Mill project.

In a second related vote, council decided to replace the agreement with a moral obligation with American National for a $21 million loan for the project.

The change in the loan’s amount was made because the Danville Industrial Development Authority is no longer responsible for financing the portion of the White Mill building that will be leased to a new, unannounced tenant.

The new loan will finance rehabilitation and redevelopment of unit one of the three-unit project. Unit one includes 147,105 square feet of commercial and retail space and 84,773 square feet of interior parking space on the first and ground floors.

White Mill Shell & Commercial, LLC is an affiliate of the IDA and The Alexander Company.

Under a joint venture between the IDA and The Alexander Company, the latter would convert the western two-thirds of floors two through four into 150 residential units and the IDA would redevelop the first floor and the eastern one-thirds of the second floor into commercial space available to lease — all occurring in the project’s first phase. The IDA would turn the lower level into parking.

The Alexander Company and the IDA signed a memorandum of understanding during a ceremony in May 2021 at the Danville Family YMCA across the Dan River from the White Mill.

The IDA owns the White Mill property, but the authority agreed to admit the Alexander Company into the ownership structure as part of the memorandum of understanding.

Construction on the project is expected to start later this month or in December and be complete in the final quarter of 2024.

Article by John Crane | Register & Bee