A cancer in Five Points?

Columbia (WACH) - The shooting this past Sunday in Five Points has left residents and local business owners on high alert.

That alarm has caused many to look around and see what they believe is causing the problem.

"I think we have one isolated problem here in Five Points...a 'cancer' if you will. There seems to be one bar/club that a lot of these problems are originating from." says Steve Cassano, the owner of Nicky's Pizzeria in Five Points.

So where exactly is this "cancer"?

Well, after hearing what multiple business owners in the area had to say about the issue, it turns out the place known as "The Library" in Five Points is thought to be that "cancer". I spoke with the owner and while he did not wish to appear on camera or give an official interview, he does want everyone to know that he believes his establishment follows all of the proper protocols and procedures needed and that the reason everyone finds it so easy to point the finger is that "The Library" does not racially profile their patrons.

But those explanations don't seem to be enough for business owners who feel as though places like "The Library" are keeping Five Points from living up to its full potential.

"I do feel that if we were to remove this 'cancer' here in Five Points, that this would become the safe hospitality district that I have heard about and that the rest of the residents here have known throughout the years." Cassano states.

And Cassano feels as though teamwork between law enforcement agencies will be the key to restoring the Five Points name.

"I really would like to see everybody work together and handle it expeditiously. Because the longer this drags out, the more it's going to tarnish Five Points' reputation." says Cassano.

And Chief Santiago has said the Columbia Police Department is always willing to learn from other agencies.

"And that's the part we are looking at. We want to do what best practices dictate. We want to see where people have been very successful and harp on those areas. And find out where they haven't been successful and make sure we steer clear of there and be cautious." states Ruben Santiago, the interim police chief for the Columbia Police Department.

Whatever needs to be done, Cassano said it needs to be done quickly because business owners in Five Points rely on the success of their business to provide for themselves and their families.

"If anything comes in between me putting food on the table for my family, that's a major concern of mine." concludes Cassano.

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