BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– A Beckley councilman publicly responded to an incident of gunfire at a popular street festival on October 8, 2022.
According to Raleigh County Magistrate Court documents, eleven shots were fired at the corner of South Heber and Earwood streets around 8:10 p.m. during Chili Night, one of the region’s most successful street festivals.
Thankfully, no one was reported as injured. The incident did raise questions, however, about the safety of events like these.
Cody Reedy, a councilman for the City of Beckley, said he is not deterred from enjoying future Chili Nights.
“Personally, I think we should continue with Chili Night,” said Reedy. “You can’t let a couple bad apples affect the whole community and the great time and the history we’ve had with Chili Night.”
Organized by Beckley Events, Chili Nights draws dozens of vendors and hundreds of people each year. It had been postponed this year due to inclement weather, moving from October 1st to October 8th. This was a first in the festival’s history.
Vendors reported the gunfire caused a stampede of people to run into local businesses in an effort to seek shelter from the rounds.
Beckley Police Department, which was patrolling the festival, immediately responded.
Following an investigation led by Detective Corporal Deems, police arrested 24-year-old Colton Eric Adkins of Mabscott and charged him with five counts of wanton endangerment for allegedly firing five rounds during Chili Night. They also recovered a Glock pistol.
On October 10, 2022, 18-year-old Traysouan Robertson of Beckley was also arrested on six counts of wanton endangerment for allegedly firing a gun six times during Chili Night.
Each man allegedly put at least nine others at risk of death by the gunfire.
Allegedly, the two were in an ongoing disagreement and encountered each other at Chili Night. Police said the incident does not appear to be gang related and was not related to Chili Night.
It is unclear if the men legally owned the firearms.
Reedy said he has faith police will offer protection during future street festivals and that he has no plans to stop attending Chili Night despite the shots fired during this year’s events.
“I fully trust all of our officers and Chief Bailey,” said Reedy. “I think they do a great job of protecting us, as citizens of Beckley, and I trust them, that they’ll come up with the best plan.”