(PRICHARD, Ala.) - This Saturday and Sunday was another rough weekend for the Prichard police and it's citizens. Now, the chief of police is declaring Prichard to be in "a state of emergency" due to crime.
Early Sunday morning, three armed teenagers used Halloween masks, guns, even an ak47 automatic weapon to terrorize and rob patrons and employees of The Galaxy Club on Wilson Avenue, only a few blocks form the police station.
"We all had to lay on the floor," recalled one employee, who wished to remain unidentified. "We all felt we were going to be shot! Killed!"
Prichard police arrived before the teens could get away, and before anyone was hurt. They're all in custody, but Prichard Police Chief Jimmie Gardner said it could have gone either way.
"You think about the AK," he says, "and then it had a 30 round clip in it and the damage or deaths that could have resulted in that weapon alone."
Just the day before, a series of robberies on the St. Stephens Road business district brought the chief himself to the neighborhood to stake out the robbers next move.
He made it, right in front of Chief Gardner at an auto parts store. The chief tackled the man and brought him down. So Monday, Chief Gardner took the unusual step of telling Local 15 News that Prichard crime has reached "emergency status" in his city. He plans to lobby the city council Thursday night for emergency funding. He believes it will be an uphill fight with the council.
Local 15 received a statement from Mayor Ron Davis, who says he actually came up with the idea of using the emergency funding for crime fighting.
The mayor says, as the department has grown and become more agressive, so must its budget.
"The incidents just this weekend prove that we need to have more funding for police in the city of Prichard," he said in his statement. "That is the only source of funding that can fund the extra police officers with that amount of money. There is no other place in the budget where we can obtain the funds to do this."
Council member Earline Martin-Harris told Local 15 News she prefers a different approach, using some emergency fund, but utilizing cuts in other areas to help fund the needs of the police department.
The next stop for this issue, Thursday night's city council meeting.