Police pull extra detail at Spring Manor Apartments following shooting; could be more to story

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K-9 Officer Casey Walsh and K-9 Sergeant Erica Hay park their patrol vehicles in front of the fire-damaged apartments as they walk the perimeter of the complex.

Ocala, Florida — The Ocala Police Department now has the dangerous task of protection detail at Spring Manor Apartments following today’s shooting death of 19-year-old Jaire Burgess.

Pulling detail tonight was K-9 Sergeant Erica Hay and K-9 Officer Casey Walsh. Dressed in full tactical uniforms, including bulletproof vests, they were ready to begin their shifts.

Until further notice, OPD officers will be on the scene every day. Any persons who do not belong inside the complex will be trespassed.

“If the situation calls for it, trespassers will be arrested,” said K-9 Sergeant Hay. “We are here to keep the area secure and prevent any further criminal activity from taking place.”

Both Walsh and Hay made their rounds as Ocala Post photographed the scene.

In a neighborhood deemed unsafe by residents, even after dark, large groups of people were scattered throughout and vehicle traffic in-and-out of the complex was quite congested.

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Sign displayed at the entrance of Spring Manor Apartments.

More to the story

According to unnamed sources, today’s shooting may have been a continuance of an incident that occurred earlier in the month. Sources said that approximately two weeks ago, Burgess was spotted running from the scene of a shooting that took place in Parkside. All of the individuals that were questioned following the incident, including Burgess, refused to cooperate with police. Burgess was also trespassed from Spring Manor Apartments by the Ocala Police Department on June 30, 2014.

Tear it down

Residents of neighboring homes said they are fed up with the Section 8 apartments. “I pay for my rent, have a full time job, and work hard for what I have. Majority of the people that live in Spring Manor are unemployed and home all day doing God knows what,” said one single mom. “Frankly, I wish the entire place would burn down…or at least tear it down.”

Sources said that a nuisance abatement might be in the works.

A nuisance abatement, as a legal term, is a condition or use of a property that interferes with neighbors’ use or enjoyment of their property, endangers life, health or safety, or is offensive to others. Because of the harm they do to others, Florida law authorizes local governments to use their police powers to compel the owners of nuisance properties to correct those conditions. If the owner fails to do so, the municipality can step in and correct, or abate, the conditions itself.

A nuisance abatement also applies to properties overridden with criminal activity, including high traffic drug and prostitution areas.

In some instances, judges have ordered properties (such as motels and apartment complexes) to cease operation.

Neighborhood organizations and block groups need to understand the nuisance abatement laws, so that they can effectively press city government to take action to address nuisance conditions in their communities.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, “It is the tenants that ‘make’ up a neighborhood. If you have bad tenants, you will most likely have a bad neighborhood.”

The same also applies to property managers they said.

Property management expert, Scott Corbridge, with Sarasota Management & Leasing, said the biggest mistake property managers make is skipping a criminal background check. He said skipping a background check is dangerous and bad business sense. Every property management company should make it a firm policy to do background checks he said.

Additionally, he added, management should have more control over outside visitors that many times turn into unauthorized residents. If a person residing in a leased property does not belong – make them leave – if they refuse to vacate the premises, call law enforcement. Property managers have the legal right to trespass anyone that is not authorized as a tenant; especially if the individual that might be trespassing is involved in illegal activity, or is already a known criminal.

Ongoing investigation

The shooting and suspicious fire are still under investigation. Investigators are still piecing together the puzzle and searching for the suspect(s). Further information will be released as it becomes available.

Anyone with information about the case can call the Ocala Police Department at 352-369-7000 or Crime Stoppers at 352-368-STOP, text a tip to 274637 using the keyword 368-STOP, or visit www.ocalacrimestoppers.com. Anonymity is always guaranteed.

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