ST. LOUIS – After a murder in the shadow of city hall Thursday evening, St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts says he’s seen enough. He blames one small park in the heart of downtown for much of the violence.

“Enough is enough,” Betts said. “We’ve got bullet holes in the City Court building – three. Just this past weekend, we got another bullet hole in the Carnahan Courthouse.”

He said violence came from people in the same park where a man was shot and killed Thursday night.

“In the shadow of city hall,” Betts said.

“I walk right through here every morning,” said Deputy George Crouch. “I responded to the last shooting that happened directly on corner right here this past weekend. So this is the second shooting in less than a week.”

Just before the interview, EMS workers treated a man who had passed out on the sidewalk.

“It definitely needs to be cleaned up,” said Ryan Schulz, a St. Louis resident. “People from the county, you know, they still feel their life’s a little threatened when they come down here, so you don’t get them to come down as much.”

Betts said the park is where the cleanup needs to start.

“They’re not homeless folk. These are drug dealers,” he said. “They’ve offered me drugs. They’ll offer you drugs.”

Curfew signs are all over the park, as Betts pointed out, indicating that there is already an ordinance in place. It’s just not enforced.

“If we don’t have enough cops on bicycles, let the Sheriff’s Department patrol downtown,” he said. “My understanding is we did that at one time—all hands on deck.”

“We’ve got 150 deputies—most of us are POST certified for the State of Missouri, conducting secondary missions for the city,” Crouch said. “The thing is, if the deputies are there, we have the ability to assist the police department with their shortfalls. Why not go ahead and put us on the street?”

“Give me the authority or get enough police out here to get it done,” Betts said. “If they can’t, I will.”

FOX 2 contacted the St. Louis Mayor’s Office, but we received no response. The Department of Public Safety referred us to the police department.

A spokesperson said the following statement:

“We are aware of the issues at the park and are actively working with our city partners to address them.”

Betts said he is waiting to be included.

“Right now, we don’t need to wait till next year, next week; we need to start today,” he said.