PALM BAY, Fla. — The murders of two teens in a Palm Bay area known as “the Compound” have led city leaders and residents to ask what can be done to curb illegal activity.
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For decades, residents have used that property as an “unofficial” recreation area. Most of the property is privately owned and largely undeveloped except for the paved roadways, which are city-owned.
Over 2,700 acres of undeveloped property in southwest Palm Bay have become a source of growing concern since 14-year-old Jeremiah Brown, and a 16-year-old were shot and killed in the compound on Christmas Day.
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“As a mom, I could not imagine, so the only thing (to do) is the community can come together and just see what will work,” Palm Bay resident Casey Lee said.
Palm Bay City Council voted unanimously to hold a community workshop later this month to try and figure out what to do about the property, where about 235 acres are city-owned.
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“With what happened to them, (the) young men, we can’t have that happen again,” said City Councilman Kenny Johnson.
Law enforcement has not made any arrests in the murders. Jeremiah Brown’s mother, Chrisele Brown, walked in a march for justice to Palm Bay City Hall last month.
“It’s been numerous shootings and murders and accidents at the compounds, and it’s like, when is it going to stop,” she said.
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“While we don’t want to violate property rights, maybe we can find some way of land assemblage or something,” Johnson said. “So that way, this is no longer an issue for our community.”
The next meeting is scheduled for March 30 at 6 p.m. at city hall.
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