WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In the wake of 19-year-old Josh Proutey’s murder Thursday night in Downtown Wilmington, many people are scared.
“I think one of the reasons people are scared is because this is such a lovely city. When needless tragedy like that happens here… we just don’t think it happens here,” says Susan Habas, Thalian Association Managing Director.
Lauren Donati, a UNCW student, agrees.
“I think it is very concerning that a random act of violence like that would happen, because I always feel safe walking around downtown, as long as I’m with a group of people. And the fact that it happened that early, it was not even particularly late at night. It is just really scary to think about.”
Proutey’s body was found at 11 oclock… in what is typically considered a safe part of town. But neighboring business owners are not shocked. They do not blame Downtown Wilmington. They blame the power of criminals.
“It does bother me, and I am sure it bothers a lot of people in the area and all of Wilmington,” says Ray Jenkins, Co-owner of the Reel Cafe. “I do feel, however, that this could happen anywhere; anywhere there are criminals that want to do something bad. It could happen anywhere.
Anyone can speculate about what happened to Proutey, but most think there are ways to avoid a situation like this one.
Owner of Bloomers Floral Design says she does not think this should keep people away from Downtown Wilmington. She thinks people just need to play it safe.
“If it was my kid, I would tell them the same thing, whether they were living here or in Chicago or in a small town in Wisconsin. Be careful. Be smart. Be safe. Do not go anywhere by yourself.”
The general consensus, travel in groups and try to avoid dimly lit areas.