Business owners discussing options after downtown stabbing

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A weekend of violence in Columbia sent downtown business owners back to the drawing board to decide the best ways to curb crime downtown.

A stabbing early Sunday morning on Broadway and Hitt Street left one man seriously injured and police with no suspect leads.

This stabbing comes about seven months after the last rash of violence downtown -- starting with the shooting that injured three on Broadway and Tenth Street and ending with another shooting outside of Harpo's Bar a few weeks later.

Those shootings caused bar owners to meet with police and city leaders to discuss ways to curb crime downtown.

Leaders discussed closing bars at a later time, but nothing was ever decided.

After this weekend's stabbing business owners once again are looking at ways to make their businesses safer.

Rashid Kikhia, the owner of Brooklyn Pizzeria next to Harpo's, said the crime has caused him to not let people order inside his restaurant after midnight.

"I pretty much don't let people in. I stand at the door, and take orders and hand them their pizza through the door," Kikhia said.

He told ABC 17 News he thinks the alleyways are the biggest problem.

"I wish there was more of a police presence, especially in the alleys," he said.

That police presence is exactly what Kenny Townsend credits for keeping his bar, McNally's, safe.

"We have several [officers] that hang out from time to time and the ruffians don't want anything to do over here because the police station is right across the street," he said.

Neither men had any idea of why there was a seven month lull between the last violent crimes, but they both agreed they will feel better with the suspect off the streets.

If you have any information on this crime, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 875-TIPS.

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