The Newtown community is responding to multiple drug and gun-related arrests

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) — Residents in the Newtown community responded to the major drug and gun blast Tuesday after eight people were charged.

The incident happened in front of the Purple Store at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Way.

“This is a real problem and people just need to know how to solve problems,” says Valerie Buchand, a Newtown resident and activist. “The guns and stuff have to come from the streets, but they have to find the suppliers.”

Danny Preston is pastor of Mount Calvary First Baptist Church, which is down the street from where this arrest occurred. He says this is a step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.

“There’s just no illegal activity here in Newtown, there’s illegal activity everywhere,” Preston said. “There’s probably just as much illegal drug activity on Proctor and Bee Ridge.”

These drug and gun activities took place across from a library and near churches and in areas where many children live, including a school and a recreation center.

“The biggest thing is that we care, and people who care about the community should be involved,” Preston said.

ABC7 spoke to a worker at the Purple Store who refused to be on camera. He says law enforcement has done a good job of getting these high-level criminals off the streets.

“Every time something is taken off the road, you feel a little bit better,” Buchand said.

Law enforcement has increased their presence in the Newtown area, and residents say it’s helping. There is hope that they will continue to increase their patrols.

ABC7 spotted MPs outside the store on Tuesday. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation.

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