Judge Orders New Security Restrictions for South Dallas Car Wash

Police Chief holds a crime meeting in the neighborhood Thursday

A judge Thursday ordered new security restrictions to be provided by the owner of a Fair Park area car wash after a shooting spree there Sunday night.

City lawyers went to court asking for the additional measures at Jim's Car Wash, 2702 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall held a neighborhood crime meeting at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center Thursday night, around the corner from the car wash, seeking community support to fight area crime after nearly 100 murders in the city so far this year.

Police said around 40 shots were fired by multiple suspects at the car wash Sunday night, killing 56-year-old Shelia Sanders, the wife of a car wash employee. Three other people were wounded by the gunfire and a fourth person was trampled as dozens of people ran from the bullets.

"It was a very large crowd, hundreds of people," Assistant City Attorney Kristen Monkhouse said.

City officials said there has been a history of problems at the car wash, which has been in business for nearly 40 years.

Judge Eric Moye agreed to impose limited hours of operation between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. and required two sworn peace officers on the property around the clock at the car wash owner's expense.

"I can't afford to have two guards on the property 24 hours a day," owner Dale Davenport said. "I don't think any small business owner could. That's why we pay taxes to the city of Dallas for police support."

The owner said he has complied with every security request from police over the years and a special improvement district that he supported two years ago was supposed to help pay for additional security.

The South Dallas Fair Park Public Improvement District was to have collected around $375,000 by this year from three years of operation, according to city records prior to the district's creation.

"We certainly don't see any guards or any benefit out of it right now," Davenport said.

City Council Member Kevin Felder who represents the area said there were spending and management problems discovered with the original manager of the PID.

"There was an audit done and the audit came up with these issues," Felder said. "The Department of Economic Development decided to put a hold on everything until they got a handle on it."

An email from a city spokesperson Thursday said a new manager was recently appointed for the PID. Collections were halted for 2019, but around $100,000 remains in a bank account for a new PID manager to spend soon.

"And the city has been, how many, weeks, months, on getting the PID back into effect?" Davenport said. "And we're asking for the police to come and help us and no such luck on Sunday afternoons."

Davenport said he had made an arrangement with police Wednesday for new participation in crowd control at the car wash on weekends.

Thursday, police officials were in court with the city lawyers supporting the new requirements at Davenport's expense, with no promises of support from the city.

"The city would contend that's the cost of doing business. If you're running an open business that you're not going to monitor and it's just going to be open to the public and serves as a place that attracts a lot of people to come and hang out and attracts crime, that's the cost of doing business," Monkhouse said.

Separately, the Dallas Board of Adjustment had already ruled that the car wash violates zoning rules. The Board of Adjustment is scheduled to meet again on June 19 to schedule a permanent closing date for the business.

"The real problem here is that Dallas does not patrol the area like it should because it doesn't have enough cops doing it's job. They're going to say my client has to provide the cops to do their job," car wash attorney Warren Norred said.

Two other murders in the past week happened within blocks of the car wash. Norred said there is more crime all around the neighborhood than there is at the car wash.

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