Chili Night Gets Heated

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Courtesy of the city of Beckley

Crowd, oblivious to the eventual shooting, gathers at annual Chili Night event in Beckley, WV

Kayla Bayne, Writer

A cold night, warm hot chocolate, tasty foods, and of course delicious chili. The Chili night event was held on October 8th, 2022. The event started as a fun and enjoyable family event, but ended with a bang. A bang that scared many parents and children. Running through the streets trying to get away from where the shots had been fired, attendees were trying to escape the fight that escalated into a shooting near the popular annual chili night event, putting many families in harm’s way.
Two suspects are in custody with six counts of Wanton Endangerment with a firearm. Parents are still frightened due to the incident. Some are even scared to let their children go places by themselves. One parent on Facebook said, “It bothers me because kids now have this memory, but it is a good experience to discuss the dangers.” A Woodrow Wilson High School student, Skye Hall, was at the event when the shots were fired. She said, “I just went blank. My mind closed off and I was just standing in the middle of the road. My friends pulled me back and forth and I finally ran with the crowd.”
Katrina Bennett was one of the vendors working at chili night. She said, “That was the fastest I have ran in a while. I grabbed my keys and purse and ran right to my car. My coworker locked the food truck up and we left.” Others discussed how they were just walking and looking around at things, still, unbothered by the night’s unscheduled event. Kids are taught what to do in case of a classroom shooting, but are not routinely prepared for violence at such a public event. Bennett also stated, “This is Beckley, and it is nothing new. I was more scared for everyone else andall the children running in fear.”
Chili night has always been a fun and memorable time in the month of October. Hopefully, families can continue to attend this event and worry more about the heat in the chili than the heat on the streets.