Downtown Orlando business owners worried about recent shooting violence

Businesses don’t want to lose customers all over again

ORLANDO, Fla. – For the second time in less than a month, shots rang out in downtown Orlando on Saturday night sending people frantically running for cover.

Orlando Police said Joseph Torres was shot and killed walking on the sidewalk along Orange Avenue when he tried to pass through a group standing on the corner at Central Avenue.

Two weeks ago, a surveillance video showed people running away after several shots were fired. Police said a man was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound but did not want to cooperate with investigators.

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A day after the latest shooting, almost a dozen business owners in downtown Orlando said they’re worried about losing business after an already tough 12 months. Most of them, however, did not want to draw any more attention to the shooting violence than it has already gotten.

Wayne Harvey, owner of the Jamaican restaurant and bar Jam-Eng, did not blame the police for the violence. He said police are everywhere.

“Can’t predict what’s going to happen even though we try our best to limit those incidents from happening,” Harvey said. “When something like this happens it will affect the business.”

Wes Hotchkiss, general manager of Motorworks Brewing Orlando, said the crowds have gotten much younger because of COVID-19 since they are the ones who still feel comfortable showing up.

“COVID - it kind of scared off anyone over the age of 30 or 35, they haven’t come back so all of this on top of it is not good,” Hotchkiss said.

Hotchkiss agreed on the police presence across downtown is large. He blamed the youthful crowd for the violence.

“It’s going to not help businesses that are recovering,” Hotchkiss said.

Hotchkiss doesn’t want customers to be deterred by the violence.

Orlando police have dedicated officers policing downtown Orlando every weekend night on foot and bicycle.

About the Author:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.