Recent stabbing may lead to demolition of abandoned apartments

By Joe Birch - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Shelby County owns the abandoned apartments where a Memphis Police officer was stabbed Sunday.

The 62 abandoned apartments at Dunnavant Manor are a breeding ground for crime, according to some neighbors.

"These apartments always have been known for drugs and all different kinds of crime," said Michael Branch, Sr., a neighbor.

The apartments were most recently owned by a California investor.  The owner kept the grass cut and a fence around the apartments, but surrendered them to Shelby County last November for not paying taxes.

"Every week it's something going on," Branch said, "dealing with these apartments."

Officer Justina Scoggins was stabbed in the arm and leg by a man she confronted in the empty apartments Sunday.

When asked if he wanted to see the apartments torn down, Branch simply replied, "yes,sir."

Sunday's stabbing appears to be speeding up demolition of the complex.  Shelby County sent a letter to the city this week green-lighting the demolition.

City Community Enhancement Director Ernest Dobbins said the next step will be to remove asbestos from the structure built in 1965.  That will cost thousands of dollars and take months, but has the city moving as fast as they can.

Contractor Tommy Day and his team were in the process of renovating a woman's house in the same neighborhood as the apartments.

"She needed a roof done and some other things done inside," Day said.

However, Day's renovation project is the exception and not the rule in the neighborhood, which resembles a ghost town.  The local store is abandoned and several houses are boarded up.

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