Bibb County sheriff’s deputies are stepping up patrols along Zebulon Road after a drive-by shooting and fight Wednesday night.
Four young men told investigators that 11 other men jumped on them as they walked in the alley between the AmStar 16 movie theater and the shopping center anchored by Kroger.
During the brawl, a woman drove by in a blue Mazda 3, and several gunshots were fired into the air from a passenger side window.
“It looks like an isolated incident with a couple of groups,” Sheriff David Davis said. “The shots were fired in more of an intimidation move instead of trying to shoot somebody.”
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Deputies had noticed an increase in activity up there.
“This is kind of a summer ritual with school out now,” Davis said.
Both Kroger and AmStar hire their own security, but deputies visited business owners Friday afternoon to discuss the shooting and any other concerns they have.
Frank Indelicato, who got caught up in the episode when he stopped by the Kroger late Wednesday to pick up a prescription, was already worried about the large crowd that often congregates in the parking lot.
When he and his partner were ready to leave the store, employees warned them to stay inside due to the gunshots.
“We just remained in the store right behind the glass door, which I didn’t think that was a good idea,” Indelicato said. “My first instinct was we should get further back in the store.”
The 60-year-old New York native, who moved to Macon from Florida nearly a dozen years ago, stopped going to the shopping center on weekend nights about two years ago.
“Ever since we saw the big crowds of young men hanging out at the theater and going to Sonic and back,” Indelicato said. “All they need is some more police presence or security guards.”
Even if the young men had no ill intentions, he said, the numbers can be intimidating.
“Macon has become a very scary place,” said Indelicato, who was working at the Macon Mall years ago when a fight in the food court hurt business.
He said he also stopped visiting downtown on Friday nights because of panhandlers and a close call with an attempted robbery behind a nightclub.
The sheriff met with his staff Friday morning to discuss Wednesday’s incident that sent four of the men to the Quik-Med across the street.
What disturbs Davis is that the shooting happened on a Wednesday night, not on the weekend when crowds are larger.
“We’re going to have to adjust plans and have people up there all the time.”
Most of the young people behave themselves, he said.
“It’s the ones that are going to disrupt things that we want to get ahead of.”
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.