‘Next thing I know I heard shots’: Back-to-back weekends of gun violence draw concern in Downtown Lynchburg

Business owners told 10 News they want people to come downtown & have fun, but to be safe

This past weekend, there was gunfire behind Greenhaus Beer Garden

LYNCHBURG, Va. – For the second consecutive weekend, the Lynchburg Police Department is investigating reports of shots fired in the downtown area.

LPD released a surveillance video that showed a group in the parking lot behind Greenhaus Beer Garden around 1 a.m. on Saturday.

Cory Akers, lead singer of the local band LOUD, said his group had just finished playing at a bar down the street and were loading up equipment when they heard yelling.

“The next thing I know I heard shots, like four or five shots back-to-back. Then it’d stop for a second, then there were a couple more,” said Akers.

Akers said he ran and hid behind a wall, then saw people scattering and flashes of gunfire.

“I didn’t see where [the shots] came from. I just saw a flash. It happened in that parking lot [up the street near Greenhaus],” said Akers.

Police said they found one man with a gunshot wound to the leg in the parking lot. He was transported to the hospital and is expected to recover fully.

On July 16 weekend, two nearby businesses on Main Street were hit by bullets, shattering some of the front windows.

No injuries were reported, and witnesses identified two vehicles leaving the scene before officers arrived.

“It will take all of us [in this city] to stop talking and all of us to work hard together to unite our community,” said Sterling Wilder, who serves on the Lynchburg City Council and represents the downtown area as part of the city’s Ward II.

Wilder said just because gun violence is an issue across the Commonwealth and country does not mean that it can be an excuse for the Hill City.

“We just want to encourage and challenge our community to be different, not be like the national average or be the gun violence here [in Virginia]; but let’s be different,” said Wilder.

10 News spoke with business owners who declined to be on camera Monday but they said they’re concerned about their customers and storefronts.

The business owners want people to bring business downtown and have a good time, but more importantly, to be safe.

“Some people need to step up on security or something,” said Akers.

10 News reached out to the owner of Greenhaus for a comment to the LPD for additional information and is still waiting to hear back.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.