It was business as usual today at the Harris Community Center. An educational organization used the Evans Room, our largest rental space, for training, and the parking lot was full by 8 a.m.
As you may be aware, just after 7 p.m. last night a man suffering from a gunshot wound to the back entered through the front door of the Harris Center and tried to get help from a yoga class, which was renting a room and had locked its door. The instructor did the right thing by calling police. Belton police arrived within a minute of the 9-1-1 call, but the man had already left the building. He was found around the corner. He was alert and talking and was transported to the hospital, where he has refused to cooperate with officers.
The shooting was not related to any activity at the Harris Center and is believed to be an isolated incident.
Some facts about the Harris Center may allay some fears that people may have as a result of last night’s incident.
The Harris Community Center is the busiest municipal building in Belton. It is the seat of government – a meeting place for the Belton City Council and several other boards and commissions. The building is also versatile. Last year its various rooms were rented out 646 times. It is a much a gathering place for executive decisions as it is for families celebrating a birthday, anniversary or wedding.
The Harris Community Center was restored in 2006, thanks to a partnership with Belton ISD and a City bond issue approved by Belton voters. It is a former segregated schoolhouse, which still hosts meetings for the esteemed alumni of West Belton-Harris High School.
We encourage you to resist the inclination to view yesterday’s incident as anything other than a single, isolated occurrence. The splash pad and Nolan Creek Hike and Bike Trail across the street remain among the best outdoor recreational options this region has to offer. As for the Harris Center, it will continue to build on its rich history as a gathering place which has been bringing people together for generations.