MACON, Ga. — The M&M Food Mart is now the second convenience store shut down by Macon-Bibb County in the last three months.
The county went to court Thursday to declare it a "public nuisance" due to high crime and drugs, and Friday, Judge Howard Simms approved a temporary shutdown, but some people feel blindsided, including a county commissioner.
Macon-Bibb County says they've taken nearly 900 emergency calls from this store since 2016.
On Wednesday, someone fired shots into the store and the next day, the county filed a lawsuit to shut it down.
"If we know that a crime has been done in this area on more than one occasion, why isn't there a bigger police scene?" Carl Myers said.
Myers says he worked with Mayor Lester Miller and others to reform Macon's communities, and while he won't point fingers, he says the store shouldn't have been closed.
He said we need to address the root causes of violence.
"Sometimes when we look at the violence problem, we just look at the actual violence problem. We look at the guns, we look at different things like that, but there's a lot of other things that’s leading up to these situations that we have to pay attention to as well," Myers said.
District 9 Commissioner Al Tillman says he never heard that Miller planned to close the store until Friday.
"He picks and chooses when it’s a sheriff issue and when he wants to be involved. That's why I say I’m of the opinion it seems like a retaliation for those Indian communities that did not support his campaign," he said.
During a commission meeting this week, Tillman tried to address crime in Macon, but Miller shut that down.
"I want to address the 50 homicides that many of folks are calling about. As a commissioner, I have the right to address the point of personal privilege and I'd like for this commission and this community to hear it," Tillman said.
"I appreciate it, but we're not going to do that today," Mayor Miller responded in the meeting.
Tillman says he's spoken to neighbors who said the store is on the line between two gang areas.
"One side of the community goes to that store and then the store on the other side, when there's rival gang members or activities going on, it'll cause a problem if you shut down the store,” he continued.
He says shutting down businesses may send the wrong message.
"We can't go around, in my opinion, shutting down every store, every business because of bad behavior, and I think it sends the message that if you make an error or mistake that we're going to punish you for it," Tillman said.
In its lawsuit, Bibb County argued that the store's owners allowed drug dealers to do business inside and around the store and that frequent gunfire put the public at risk.
Judge Howard Simms set an Oct.10 hearing on whether the store should be closed permanently.