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Residents gather to share concerns over recent 2nd Street crimes, killings

Sheldrake’s Coffee House was overrun Thursday by residents who raised concerns about recent crimes and killings on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore following a recent stabbing at Dave’s Hot Chicken.

Long Beach’s 3rd District Councilwoman Kristina Duggan invited community members to the coffeehouse for an impromptu community forum with Chief of Police Wally Hebeish on March 7.

“I am saddened and angered by the major crimes that have happened in Belmont Shore,” Duggan said. “We all are, and this will not be tolerated.”

On March 3, 20-year-old Adrian Hernandez was stabbed at Dave’s Hot Chicken on 2nd Street and later died in the hospital.

The suspect, 29-year-old Brandon Nguyen from Huntington Beach was arrested at LAX on Monday in connection to the fatal stabbing.

The incident marks the second killing in Belmont Shore in two weeks after a man was shot and killed outside Dogz Bar and Grill on Feb. 17.

“We had an incident a few blocks down and unfortunately a life was taken but we arrested the person responsible,” Hebeish said. “The mission is very clear for us. Stop crime, enhance safety and utilize all our resources.”

The recent increase in petty and violent crime has prompted responses from community members across Long Beach, many of whom attended Thursday’s meeting to ask Duggan and Hebeish questions.

During the forum, community members brought up concerns about businesses on 2nd Street over-serving in bars, bar fights, break-ins in the area and homelessness contributing to an atmosphere of violence.

Many called for the city and local businesses to enforce stricter rules for drinking and serving alcohol, as well as adding more police patrols.

“Having moved here, we were drawn to what a great community it was,” Michelle Lago, a three-year Long Beach resident, said. “We’ve really started to see a little bit of the darker side. We’re getting frustrated and at times, scared.”

For lifelong Long Beach resident Andrew Noble, the increase in crime resonates with him personally.

Noble said he was attacked by a woman and knocked down while riding his bike along Belmont Shore two months ago.

“Despite video evidence, the witness statement and my own statement there has not been an arrest yet,” Noble said. “Every day that I’m out there I’m always thinking about possibly being attacked again from behind.”

Hebeish said the Long Beach Police Department is working to add extra patrol in the area to ensure fast response times and work with local business owners to deter crime.

Duggan said she plans to hold an official follow-up meeting to continue the conversation on crime prevention in Belmont Shore.

“I think it was successful,” 35-year Belmont Heights resident Rena Osborn said. “The Chief was very involved with the neighbors and answering questions. I’m very grateful to live here, but unfortunately, these things have happened.”

Since the stabbing, Dave’s Hot Chicken has reduced its store hours to close at midnight instead of 2 a.m. and stopped serving alcohol after 10 p.m.

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