‘Our concern is to be there’: Residents come together, supporting one another after restaurant shootout in Martinsville

Southside Virginia News

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Residents in the City of Martinsville are still in a state of shock and confusion after a shootout over the weekend at the local restaurant left two people dead and sent two others to the hospital.

Rev. Mark Hinchcliff moved to Martinsville seven years ago, and he’s been loving it ever since.

“I really enjoy it. It’s a very nice community,” said Hinchcliff.

He currently serves as the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church, located along Patrick Henry Avenue. The surrounding area is known for its quaintness and family-friendly atmosphere.

However, just up the road is a different story.

An investigation is underway after two people were killed and two were found injured after a shootout at El Norteño on Friday, Feb. 5.

“To have something like that, at a restaurant that I frequent myself,” said Hinchcliff. “[I] never felt unsafe in any way.”

Hinchcliff says local residents are still on edge after the deadly incident, but they’re not panicking.

“You know, I hear it. People are shocked that something like this would happen. Some people are concerned for their safety,” Hinchcliff said.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, family and friends held a candlelight vigil.

While Hinchcliff did not attend, he says it’s nice to see other residents coming together for one another, something he often strives to do in his day-to-day life.

“Our concern is to be there, to help people through trying times through our faith and through whatever counsel we may provide,” Hinchcliff said.

Lending a helping hand, so that others can preserve.

“This is a strong community with a lot of caring people,” said Hinchcliff. “Just provide, if nothing else, a listening ear and a little comfort where people really need it.”

El Norteño has been temporarily closed due to repeated COVID-19 mask violations. The restaurant has also surrendered its liquor license.

Virginia State Police is still actively investigating the incident.

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