Two shooting incidents at Schoolhouse Apartments overnight Wednesday highlighted an apparent rift between Atlantic City and the long-troubled development.
Police at the scene reported that security refused to furnish them with video from surveillance cameras that may have helped in identifying the culprits.
Police Chief Ernest Jubilee said access was not denied, just unavailable because of the time of night. The video was accessed Thursday, but owner Mike Yeroush said there is a problem with cooperation - from the city.
"We are extremely unhappy and unsatisfied with what is going on," he said Thursday, without detailing the exact problems. "We turned this building from hell to heaven. It appears to be whatever we do, we are not getting the cooperation we are looking for."
The surrounding area - which includes Brown's Park and Stanley Holmes Village - remains a problem.
"Things they're doing are working," Jubilee said. "But what's going on in the neighborhood is a different thing."
Within 3½ hours Wednesday into Thursday, there were two shooting incidents outside the complex. None resulted in injuries.
Shortly before 11 p.m Wednesday., a black vehicle was seen driving from the area after shots were fired nearby, Sgt. Monica McMenamin said. People were seen running from Brown's Park toward the Schoolhouse Apartments.
Then, at 2:26 a.m. Thursday, shots were fired at a silver Nissan Maxima with smoked windows and a sunroof, McMenamin said. Shell casings were collected at the scene.
Yeroush said his company - A-1 Universal based in Great Neck, N.Y. - has done everything the city has asked, including putting in more than 450 cameras both outside and inside the complexes three buildings. They additionally put in a camera with zooming capabilities that is used by the Police Department.
"That caused us a few thousand dollars to install for the police to be able to monitor whatever is going on it the area," he said.
"Schoolhouse Apartments has been very cooperative," Jubilee said. "I wish other places were as cooperative.”
He indicated that some of Schoolhouse's frustration is from people who sit outside. But the chief said officers often are told that those people live there and are not going to make people show identification just to sit there.
"We're trying to team up with everybody," Tourism District Commander Tom Gilbert said. "We hope that, moving forward, we can build that openness so we can do all we can to protect the residents of Atlantic City."
Yeroush said Schoolhouse's main responsibility is to its own residents.
"We will do whatever we have to do to protect our tenants as well as our investment," he said.
A-1 purchased the complex for $3.6 million at a bankruptcy sale in 2007. Since then, it has put more than twice that into improvements.
"It's not our responsibility to take care of the park or the street or our surroundings," Yeroush said. "We are not getting paid to clean up the neighborhood."
But the neighborhood’s problems have sometimes led to Schoolhouse.
In January, Uthman Griffin, 26, was gunned down on the street outside the complex. Video from that area shows several men running from Brown's park into Schoolhouse. Griffin is felled by a bullet, and then shot as he lays in the street. The suspect is not clearly seen in the video. The crime remains unsolved.
Atlantic City Councilman Frank Gilliam said he would look into the situation with Schoolhouse, but would rather take this to move into something positive.
"We should be outraged with the crime. We should be outraged with the senseless homicides," Councilman Frank Gilliam said. "It's very important for all factions of this community to come together and focus on making a better Atlantic City. A cleaner and safer Atlantic City and the only way we're going to achieve that is with cooperation."
That cooperation includes several privately owned buildings allowing their cameras to be hooked up to ShotSpotter, an audio-detection system that will soon be installed to alert police when shots are fired. The system integrates with cameras, which would then move in the direction of the gunshots.
Jubilee has said the locations for the audio sensors - which is not being made public for safety reasons - have been chosen, and that they are just finishing up getting permissions from the private companies to use their cameras. So far, no one has said no, he said.
When asked if Schoolhouse is one of those cooperating with the initiative, he replied: "Absolutely."
New lighting is also planned for that area, Jubilee said.