Fort Worth

Como leaders, Fort Worth police partnering to launch new safety effort around Comofest

The hours after last year's community festival saw a mass shooting take place on a nearby street, and community leaders are organizing a new event to bring more structure to the area

NBC Universal, Inc.

Leaders of the Como community and Fort Worth police are launching a new effort to increase security around this year’s Comofest celebration on July 3.

Hours after last year’s event, a mass shooting nearby killed three people and left eight others injured, leading some of those victims’ families to express concerns about Comofest happening again.

Today police and Como leaders told NBC 5 that this year they have a plan to address those concerns.

“We’re looking for the future of our neighborhood, so we’re doing this as a purpose,” said Dena Ashton, chair of the Como Neighborhood Advisory Council.

Since 1950, the historically Black Fort Worth neighborhood of Como has held a celebration over the Independence Day holiday to support local businesses and build up the community.

In 2021, that event became Comofest, a festival on July 3 filled with food and family activities.

“Growing up, we were okay to be out and people coming from all different areas,” said Ashton. “But now, the day and age and the time, it’s totally different now.”

While there haven’t been issues during the daytime festival, the hours after the event can be a different story.

In 2021, eight people were shot after Comofest at a car wash on nearby Horne Street.

And last year, three people were killed and eight others were injured in a mass shooting in the same area.

Some of those victims’ families blamed the violence on a lack of security among the huge crowds that stay in the area after Comofest ends, and they shared concerns about the festival continuing this year.

“The night thing is not okay, they shouldn’t even be allowed to do that,” said Tania Torres, a cousin of mass shooting victim Cynthia Santos. “It’s out of hand, and it’s not okay.”

On Thursday neighborhood and police leaders said they would be launching a new plan to cut down on nighttime violence after Comofest.

“We had to become solutions-based,” said Marcus Hudson, the president of Legacy Lake Como. “This is something that’s been plaguing our community for decades.”

This year there will be two events: the typical Comofest celebration at Lake Como Park, which will happen during the day; then at night, a new event called Como Homecoming will be held.

It’s a community fundraiser set to take place on Horne Street where large crowds have typically gathered, and police will block off the streets to supervise it.

“I think the plan to mitigate it this year is to come into it with a plan already in place,” said Stefanie Ricks, West Division Commander with the Fort Worth Police Department. “And add a little bit more structure to it.”

Police said they planned to place more officers in the area hour by hour, and they would be able to remove people who were acting disruptively.

Community leaders hope this way the celebrations of Comofest wouldn’t be marred by violence.

“This time, we’ve got a nice plan in order for everything to work out,” said Paul Truebillian. “We want everybody to be safe.”

Comofest 2024 is set to take place on July 3. More information about the festivities can be found here.

Contact Us