When Kevin Greene opened the door to his downtown business Artistic Impressions on Thursday morning, he knew something was going on.
Yellow police crime tape blocked off an area across the street on North Chestnut Street in front of a barbershop and an antique store.
“I got here about 7:45 a.m. There were six to eight police cars of different kinds parked on the block,” Greene said.
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He would later find out that police were investigating a suspicious death in the apartment upstairs, and they were looking for two potentially armed and dangerous people.
“It is scary to me to think that someone might have been murdered so close to where I spend my days,” Greene said. “It makes me afraid of how it might adversely impact people’s views of downtown Seymour, just as it is becoming a better place to be.”
However, Greene said the incident didn’t seem to be having an effect on his business Thursday.
Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott said in the 25 years he’s been a police officer here, they have only responded to calls in the downtown a couple of times, and those are typically theft, property damage or domestic disputes calls, he said.
“It’s not a bad area,” he said.
John Allman, who operates the barbershop, said he has noticed a lot of people going in and out of the upstairs apartment lately and suspected there was drug activity going on.
It’s been three years since a murder took place in Seymour, Abbott said.
Amanda Ruddick of Seymour said she takes her daughters to a nearby downtown dance studio every week in the evenings and has often felt uncomfortable being across the street from individuals hanging around the area.
“As sad and scary as this situation is, it honestly doesn’t surprise me,” she said. “There is always suspicious activity going on right there. Always. Just last week, it was all we could do to get in the car fast enough because of the individuals lingering around the door.”
Ruddick also owns a photography business, Mandi Leigh Photography, in the Vehslage Building at the corner of North Chestnut and Third Street.
“There would be times I would work late into the evening hours and have to call someone to escort me out because of the concerns about the people in that area,” she said.
Ruddick said she doesn’t necessarily think downtown Seymour is unsafe.
“I just believe that with the deterioration of that particular area that it has allowed things to go on that shouldn’t have, and it’s escalated into something bigger now,” she said.