Neighbors fearful town is changing“Red Wing didn’t used to be like this.” More than one resident in the neighborhood where a man was shot and killed early Sunday morning agreed with Joyce Engel. They’ve seen changes in the community that they don’t like.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
“Red Wing didn’t used to be like this.”
More than one resident in the neighborhood where a man was shot and killed early Sunday morning agreed with Joyce Engel. They’ve seen changes in the community that they don’t like.
And more than one agreed with Engel, 619 Plum St., when she added, “I feel very scared.”
Engel, who has lived in the building for about a year, was up and about shortly after midnight Sunday, preparing to go out with friends, when “All of a sudden there’s police everywhere.”
She didn’t learn until later that day that Joel Rafael Diaz Albelo had been shot in a vehicle just across the street from her front porch. Albelo died later at Fairview Red Wing Medical Center.
The shooting took place in the alley between Plum and Bush streets; the vehicle containing the victim was found about a block away in the 600 block of North Park Street.
“I’ve got kids that age,” Engel said. “It makes me feel — that could have been my son.”
After learning that police are characterizing the murder as an apparent drug robbery gone bad, Engel said she was not surprised that the shooting may have been drug-related. “It has to be,” she said.
Next door at the Corner Stop on Seventh Street, a manager agreed: “It’s a scary situation.”
Although he wasn’t working Sunday, he said, “If you sit here long enough, you can see what’s going on around here — a lot of drugs.”
Workers at the gas station-convenience store take no chances.
“When we see something going on, we call the police right away,” said the man, who has worked there about 1 1/2 years. “I feel safe during the day. But after 5 p.m. I don’t want to be in the store.”
He won’t let his daughter work there, and he didn’t want his name in the paper for fear of retaliation. “It’s a scary situation,” he added.
The shooting is “the talk of the town,” the manager said. “It don’t surprise them one little bit. … I don’t like what I see, and more is going to happen.”
He doesn’t condemn the neighborhood, however.
“There are a lot of hard-working, wonderful people in the East End,” he added, pointing to the day care center across Seventh Street at the McSorley Street corner.
“(The neighborhood) has definitely changed,” said Jim Kirk, whose wife, Vicki, runs the day care. Because of the Martin Luther King holiday, there were no children there on Monday. It’s been their home since 1977.
“We’ve never had any problems with anybody on the property,” he added, although they are very much aware of incidents in the neighborhood that have involved police.
Because it’s a day care, they tend to get notified by police when a drug bust is going down, Kirk said, so they are prepared.
Do they feel safe?
“It goes through your mind,” Kirk said. One positive aspect, he said, is that “we’ve got good neighbors. People do tend to watch out for everybody. They’re vigilant. If you see something, you call the cops.”
He agreed with others in the neighborhood that drugs likely were involved in the killing. “Most crimes around here are probably drug related,” Kirk said.
His next-door neighbor, who declined to be identified, was very much aware of police activity on Sunday. He heard what he thought was a “concussion bomb,” the man said, that apparently blew out windows at a blue house on Seventh Street. Neighbors identified it as a house they know has been visited by police in recent months.
The shooting reportedly took place in the alley behind that house.
The man also watched out his front window Sunday morning as police, weapons drawn, stopped a car on McSorley Street and took a man into custody.
At Kwik Trip, on the corner of Seventh and Plum across the street from the blue house, employees are always alert to their surroundings and call police whenever they become suspicious.
“It’s sad that it had to happen,” manager Carmen Schumacher said about the shooting. “I feel the police do a good job of trying to assure safety.”
The situation has improved since she came to the corner three years ago, Schumacher said: “It’s a lot better. The cops have done a wonderful job of protecting and … watching out.”
A block in the other direction from the shooting, at Andy’s Bar in the 500 block of Plum Street, Ali Bohmbach said news of the murder caught her off guard.
“It’s a safe town and when something like that happens you ask, ‘What’s going on?’” said the 23 year-old Red Wing native and bartender at Andy’s. “It’s not something I expected to happen around town.”
When she works at night, Bohmbach said, she has someone escort her to her car — but she was doing that even before the shooting.
The murder hasn’t shaken her too much.
“It’s not like I feel unsafe in Red Wing or working at Andy’s,” Bohmbach said.