Gun shop removes crime scene tape, body outline decorations
MINT HILL, NC (WBTV) - If you drove by the Heritage Gun Shop on Matthews-Mint Hill Road in Mint Hill this past weekend, you could see yellow crime scene tape by the door.
If you stopped, you could see number placards that look like evidence markers and a chalk outline appearing to show where a body was removed.
There is red blood splatter on the windows and it looks like four zombies screaming.
The store manager says his goal was to go all out for Halloween.
"The intention was just to have a zombie laying on the ground to accent the zombie hunting permits and the don't stop zombie crossing signs. All zombie stuff, we love The Walking Dead," said Brandon Godwin, "Everybody seen it, laughed about it."
But Will Adams, who's son was murdered, asks, "how is that a decoration?"
Adams said after seeing the display, it's not a joke to him and it's not funny.
"You riding down the street, you see the crime scene tape. First thing you do if you're concerned like I am, you turn around and go see what's going on," Adams said, "With all of the murders and everything that we have going on today. I don't think that was in good taste."
Before Godwin met Adams, he said he was willing to hear him out. Some of Godwin's customers say this is a question of free speech.
"I think it's lighthearted. It's jokish. You can take offense to it, but you should be responsible in expressing that in a correct way," said Roger Becker, a customer going into the Heritage Gun Shop.
Godwin is a father and says he did not want to offend someone who lost his son.
"If it's upsetting people that have had members of their families harmed, stuff like that in any way, if it's upsetting for them to see, we are in a small town. I don't want to upset people in that regard. And all they have to do is ask," Godwin said.
Adams walked into the gun store and Godwin handed him the sign he was just about to hang up on the front door, "Out of respect for those who may have been offended by our recent Halloween decoration, the staff of Heritage Gun Shop has decided to remove the decoration in question. We apologize to any person that this may have personally affected. Thank you."
"In our eyes it was a zombie, obviously other people have taken it in other ways that wasn't our intent," Godwin told Adams. And then he asked, "Why don't you help me take it down?"
After they erased the chalk lines with bottled water, Adams explained to Godwin why this matters.
"Just in the last two weeks alone, we've had about 13 murders in Charlotte area. And my organization Team TruBlue we visit these families. We go and check on these people. And we do everything we possibly can to try to curb violence and not to send out that message. I know this wasn't your intent to send the wrong message."
"We saw it one way, other people saw it another, small town like that you can't have that. We all got to be on the same page," Godwin said.
Adams exchanged information with Godwin and they plan to have gun safety classes for kids in the future.
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