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One-day apart, two women accosted at gunpoint by youths during walks in W. AVL’s Carrier Park
Sunday, 07 July 2024 21:04

From Staff Reports 

After two women were robbed and threatened at gunpoint, in separate incidents, while walking alone in West Asheville’s Carrier Park, the Asheville Police Department has noted that, based on its investigation, it is seeking  “the three main suspects,” who “are described as black juveniles between the ages of 10 and 17,” Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported June 25.

The attacks occurred about 24 hours apart on June 18 and June 19.

“One woman had her vehicle stolen and the other was struck in the head with a gun,” News 13 noted. “The woman who was hit suffered a concussion.”

“Asheville police say the suspects tried to remove the license plate and identifying stickers from the stolen car before abandoning it... The three main suspects are described as black juveniles, with one being noticeably taller than the other two.”

Meanwhile, APD Lt. Josh Meindl told News 13 the following:

“In the one instance, where the vehicle was taken, two other black males, one older, one being younger, were standing off to the side observing and then getting in the car and fleeing with the initial suspects. They describe the age ranges as anywhere from 10 years old to up to 17 years old — definitely in that middle-school range of age.”

Anyone with any information on either of these incidents or the identities of the suspects is asked to contact the Asheville Police Department at (828) 252-1110, send an anonymous tip by texting TIP2APD to 847411 or using the TIP2APD smartphone application (search “Asheville PD” in the app store).

In a telephone interview with the Daily Planet on June 30, Asheville FOP President Rondell Lance provided a review and analysis of the two attacks on women walking alone in the evening before dark in Carrier Park.

Specifically, Lance, a Buncombe native, said, “It’s a nice park, but it’s so big and wide, so you’ve got a lot of territory there. I would think … Carrier Park needs more police officers working down there, (maybe) in a cruiser, to be seen” by potential trouble-makers.

“It’s sad that people are just trying” to take an innocent evening walk in the park, while  thugs of all ages lurk around, threatening danger to the life and limb of those who present the easiest targets to attack in West Asheville. 

To that end, Lance advised, “I’d carry me a little can of mace... Or, I carry wasp spray (which is available only in large cans)  — and if they attack, I’d spray them with wasp spray” — and, with a wry chuckle, he said any would-be attackers would be neutralized.

Referring to nearby Pisgah View Apartments (a public housing complex located near the park), which he did not specifically name, Lance said, “Once again, we used to have ‘housing police’ that worked the (public) housing area… We’ve lost that unit” with changes wrought by ultra-progressives running Asheville City Council and the court system.

In a reference to Asheville beyond just Carrier Park, Lance added, “In this day and time, if you go into the Asheville city limits, you need to be prepared” to encounter trouble-makers who operate without fear of legal consequences. “Spray them with wasp spray,” he reiterated. “If they pull a gun, the best thing is give them what they want.”

In addition to the need for a more visible APD presence in Carrier Park, the local FOP president suggested, “The Buncombe County Parks & Rec, which I very much like — they’ve got to keep ‘security’ there,” such as hiring “people” to ride around the area in golf carts, constantly monitoring the park for safety. 

Speaking generally, Lance said that “a criminal just assumes” that a woman provides an easier target to approach for whatever the thug is seeking, than a man.

“I’d advise women to walk (only) around areas of Carrier Park, where there are a lot of people.”

So is Lance surprised that suspects in the attacks on the women walkers are described as possibly as young as 10 years old? the Daily Planet asked. 

“Just talk to our juvenile court system,” Lance replied. “It is a really big problem with juveniles. You have to go to the root problem... And the (local) juvenile court system is covered up” with more cases than it can easily accommodate.

“Once again, the courts need to bear down on that. You need to get them (juvenile lawbreakers) started on the (right) path... A lot of the time the problem is the ‘home life’ — the parents are working” and lack the needed time to oversee and discipline their children.

So what does Lance think of the saying that “There are no bad kids — just bad parents?” 

With another wry chuckle, Lance answered, “There are bad kids... I’m a preacher’s kid,” noting that such children are notorious for being poorly behaved, despite having a strict preacher for a father or mother.

In the case of the Carrier Park attacks, he added, “At that age, they (the youngsters) know they’re doing wrong.”

After a pause, Lance added, “Mom and Dad can only do the best they can. They’ve got to hold them (their children) responsible and discipline them,” but, after that, the children have their own free will.

In returning to his advice by those who may be accosted in the future around Ashevlle, Lance said, “If they pull a gun, I’d give them everything they want. But don’t be kidnapped. If needed, kick them in the groin. Then call the police.”

In any such interactions with criminals, the local FOP president said “the main thing is to remember to be able to give a good description” of the evil-doers.

Lance then reiterated, “None of it is worth getting hurt or killed over.”

He then returned to his affinity — for defensive purposes when walking in Asheville — for carrying around a big can of wasp spray, which “would spray 20 feet” or more.

Also, Lance said that, in his view, not only are women perceived as easy targets by thugs in Carrier Park, but that “elderly men” also could be seen as soft targets and end up having to face assailants.

Speaking generally, Lance asserted, “It (attacks on those going for evening walks in city parks) shouldn’t be happening here,” but he acknowledged that it is a real and present danger.

Given today’s criminal element looming — again, openly operating without fear of consequences as a result of progressive policies espoused by city leaders and the local court system — around Asheville, “You have to be more conscious of your environment. It’s sad that it’s come to that.

“You can still go out and enjoy downtown and enjoy the parks. But learn some defensive tactics. You can still go downtown or walk the park safely, but you have to use common sense. It’s sad, but you’ve got to be more aware of your environment.” 

In concluding his interview with the Daily Planet, Lance advised everyone in Asheville, as well as those planning to visit the city, to “make a safety plan. Embrace situational awareness. Learn defensive tactics. Most of that (self-defense training)... you probably could learn it from YouTube.”  

 Meanwhile, after News 13’s stories on the attacks in Carrier Park, among the citizen responses in its “Comment Bubble” were the following:

• MajorityRules1776 — “Things will not change until law-abiding citizens take matters into their own hands. Our Lives Matter.”

• WindRidge — “Robbed and pistol- whipped by middle-schoolers. When will the APD talk about all the trouble in Carrier Park in the preceding months? Right beside the interstate — perfect for abductions and robberies.”

• SuperSot — “So, three ‘possible juveniles’ with a ‘gun object’ and ‘one taller than the rest.’

“Is this news13 or APD’s doing?  

“Until we know, we will just assume it’s them again. “

• Coonhound — “Surely ‘reporters’ know that when they don’t include a more detailed description of suspects. most of the public just assumes it is the 13 percent.”

• WeAreAllDoomed — “Sad to read about even more senseless crimes in the area perpetrated by young males. The decay of the moral fabric of our society is to blame. Lax enforcement of laws by DAs and judges is to blame. Politicians using us as guinea pigs...”

• EarthCharge — “Let us hope that they try this on someone carrying lethal force while fully prepared to use that force.”

• SANCO — “Teen gang violence is a problem in Asheville. The women are fortunate they weren’t shot during the carjacking.” 

• WindRidge — “And here we go. Carrier Park Crime Pandora Box is now opened. Single white joggers in the dark a plenty. Naïve with zero situational awareness is guaranteed, or they wouldn’t be there.

“‘What projects?’”

• Normal — “So close to Grenada they might as well say it -- Pisgah View Reparations Taskforce.”

• Randito — “Concealed carry course and permit ... Arm yourself and be prepared for the next Jog at dusk....”

• Chsc1979 — “Well, since both were done at night, how much longer before they put a curfew in place for the area?” 

• ATruthTeller — “Another fine achievement from our city council.”

• NoOne23 — “What’s a ‘gun object?’” 

• AvlNC — “Carrier Park is sketch(y) at the best of times.”  

• Normal — “‘It was the fleek of times, it was the sketch of times, it was the age of rizz, it was the age of woke...’ - Chuckie D.”

• LibbyLou — “Keep it up Asheville.  You’re getting closer and closer to winning that ‘San Francisco of the East’ trophy.”

• DaLestetBratt — “Obvious drug deal gone bad.”

• MajorityRules1776 — “Not racist just facts... An ethnic group that makes up 13 percent of the population but occupies 95 percent of the prison systems. But instead of looking in the mirror and trying to be a better person, they play the victim. A hard pill for some to swallow....”

• WLB292 — “Next: gunshots and death. Needle stabbing in the mix.”



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