Uniting against violence: Business owners call for increased resources in Como after shooting
For 23 years, Leonard Miller has worked as a barber in the Como community he loves.
Miller, a veteran and the owner of Fine Arts Barber Shop on Horne Street, enjoys the Fourth of July parade that occurs in Como every year. But he’s wrestling with the pain caused by a mass shooting July 3 that has attracted national attention.
“It doesn’t help my community or my business especially,” he said.
Many business owners like Miller are calling for more resources to tackle violence in Como. They say the shooting at night shouldn’t be associated with the festival that occurred the same day: ComoFest. Rather, they contend, ComoFest builds up businesses in the community that will help in the long run.
Miller described Como as a good community surrounded by wealth. The neighborhood businesses come together better after tragedies such as the shooting, but Miller believes the community needs more services like mental health to prevent violence.
“I’m not saying that was the issue in this case, but you have to look at that because it’s just not normal,” Miller said. “I mean, a lot of that is going on throughout the United States.”
Business owners say the annual event that happened before the shooting was a positive experience for the community
Landter Goodrich, owner of Lake Como’s House of Fades barbershop, said the positive energy was amazing at ComoFest.
“Everybody had a good time and then I just feel like, ‘Why do we have to get like this?’ They did all their hard work to put everything together,” Goodrich said. “Why do we have to end like that?”
Goodrich attended ComoFest with his family but said he didn’t stay for the block party that happened afterward. The block party where injuries and deaths happened is a different entity than ComoFest, he said.
“Kids were playing, sweating and eating snow cones,” Goodrich said. “I’ve been over here for 10 years so I see the progress. People can have a good time and be able to go home to their loved one.”
The community moves one step forward then three steps back, he said. Goodrich hadn’t been to the lake at Como in a while, but was amazed to see how clean it was. It was a testament to the progress of the community, he said.
Fort Worth business leaders also took to social media to comment on the shooting.
Katrina Carpenter, owner of the catering and food truck business Carpenter’s Cafe, thanked everyone who came to Comofest and said the shooting did not occur at or during the event.
“Sadly those of us whom were born and raised in Lake Como are used to folks who aren’t from the community coming in every 3rd of July with mayhem,” Carpenter wrote. “I hope I live to see the day where we can gather in peace and enjoy each other’s company (without) what feels like experiencing an attack.”
Anette Landeros, president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and her family enjoyed ComoFest and expressed sympathies to the families affected by the shooting in the area, she wrote.
“Every neighborhood should be able to gather and celebrate safely,” Landeros wrote. “Every neighborhood should be proud to￼ showcase their culture and spirit. I know they must feel very defeated, but I’m grateful for the positivity they are trying to build.”
Speaking at a public meeting on Monday at the Como First Baptist Church, District 6 city council member Jared Williams said there are many areas where Como needs to improve. One of those is in building back its business community.
“I know that for a long time Como had a fire in the business community,” he said.
“The reality is that there are investments that we can make” to help bring the business community back.
Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com and follow on Twitter at @sbodine120.
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.