Apartment complex where child was grazed by bullet has broken front gate

Berkeley Pointe Apartments management refuses to explain why

OCALA, Fla. – Andrez Townz, the mother of the 7-year-old girl who was grazed by a bullet while sleeping in her bed Sunday night, said she no longer feels safe in her apartment.

"When I moved here, they redid everything. The gates were closed. It was, like, very more protected. Security was walking around. They were towing cars that don't belong here," Townz said. "It was very safe, and then recently the gates are open now. There's a lot of people that shouldn't be here. A lot of young people starting drama."

Townz's daughter, Leah Townz, was awakened by the sound of bullets shattering the glass window of her bedroom. One bullet hit her bed and then scraped her leg, leaving a bruise.

"I was, like, 'Thank God she's OK,'" Townz said. "We didn't deserve that. We should be able to sleep in our home and be safe in our home. And now we can't even come here and feel safe." 

Ocala police said Tuesday afternoon that officers have focused on reducing crime at Berkeley Point Apartment Complex after "an uptick in violence recently."

East District Capt. Steve Cuppy said outsiders gaining access to the complex are the ones causing problems.

"It is our belief that most violence happening in or around the complex is related to individuals who are not assigned to live within the complex," Cuppy said. "These guests and visitors are the focus of this violent activity. We are working with management by encouraging the eviction of residents who allow these violent visitors to stay and hang around the area."

Cuppy said officers meet monthly with tenants "to let residents know about goals and any new implemented rules in addition to an open forum where residents can voice concerns" but that apartment complex management must take steps to stop the violence.

"Berkley Point employs a private security company, which is intended to work with law enforcement to share information and help to trespass individuals from the property," Cuppy said. "Ownership/management is also working to improve security aspects of the complex such as improvement to the front security gate and upgrading cameras."

But residents said the front gate has been broken for around a year.

Renter Chelsea Smith said management has evicted several tenants but allows in new renters with new problems.

"They've been evicting people but moving the same people back in," Smith said. "It's not progress when it's the same cycle. The manager's not even here to handle the situation."

News 6 tried to speak to a Berkeley Pointe regional supervisor, who was said to be on his way to the complex Tuesday afternoon, but the supervisor told a maintenance worker he could not speak to the media.

News 6 called Cambridge Management, the parent company of Berkeley Pointe, in Washington state, but a receptionist would not provide an email address and hung up.

An email form filled out on Berkeley Pointe's website seeking comment was not returned.

A woman who told news crews to leave the complex would not answer questions about why no one from Cambridge or Berkeley would make any comment. The woman ignored questions and walked back into the Berkeley Pointe leasing office.

Ocala police said two apartments were sprayed with bullets Sunday night and neighbors reported the sound of a car speeding away.

About the Author: