Activist community

Newtown community reacts to multiple drug and gun related arrests

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) – Residents of the Newtown community react Tuesday to the heavy drug and gun trade after eight people were charged.

The incident happened outside the Purple Store on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

“It’s a real problem and people just need to know how to solve problems,” said Valerie Buchand, a Newtown resident and activist. “Weapons and stuff have to get off the street, but they have to find the suppliers.”

Danny Preston is the pastor of Mount Calvary First Baptist Church, which is down the street from where this bust happened. He says it’s a step in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go.

“There’s just no illegal activity here in Newtown, it’s illegal activity everywhere,” Preston said. “There’s probably just as much illegal drug activity on Proctor and Bee Ridge.”

This drug and gun activity took place in front of a library and near churches, as well as areas with lots of children, including a school and a recreation center.

“The most important thing is that we get involved, and people who care about the community should be involved,” Preston said.

ABC7 spoke with a worker inside the Purple Store who did not want to be filmed. He says law enforcement has done a good job of getting these high profile criminals off the streets.

“Every time something is taken off the street, you feel a little better,” Buchand said.

Law enforcement has increased their presence in the Newtown section and residents say that is helping. It is hoped that they will continue to increase their patrols.

ABC7 saw deputies outside the store on Tuesday. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation.

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