Things have been a little volatile in La Chanca. A murder and a fracas to be precise.
This was the headline in the local news this week: “Suspected murderer from La Chanca-Pescaderia arrested in Roquetas de Mar”.
They showed this police photo of the suspect:
And the story goes that on September 4 a black man was found bleeding from neck wounds in a side street in La Chanca and later died from his injuries. The police mounted a search for the killer and arrested the suspect driving in the nearby town of Roquetas five days later. They said the search was not helped by the “secrecy” that exists among the community.
Of course the first thing I did was check where the street of the murder was. Luckily it’s not in my immediate area but further down, about half way to the port. It’s at the heart of the real La Chanca- Pescaderia whereas I am on the fringes – and that’s where I intend to stay!
It’s interesting that the police commented on the secrecy among the community. Here no one is going to say anything that could potentially get them, or one of their extended network of family and friends, into trouble. ‘Nobody knows nothing’.
The same happened here the other day. (Not the murder, the clamming up!)
Something went on in the street, a fracas, or fight or disagreement of some sort. It was early Sunday evening (September 1 actually, just a couple of days before the murder, probably not significant though) and I heard a big rumpus outside.
After making sure the front door was locked I nipped up to the roof terrace to see what was going on – along with half the neighbourhood – every roof terrace was occupied with people looking over the edge.
I couldn’t tell very well, but there seemed to be some sort of fight happening on the waste ground at the top of the street, and as well there were a couple of guys hanging around lower down carrying sticks and stones.
Then it suddenly seemed to dissolve – the stone-carrying guy threw his rock away over the fence into the animal reserve, and the street went quiet.
Which was probably something to do with the arrival of six arms-bearing National Police Officers who marched up the street to the waste ground. I guess the locals had had the tip off from friends lower down.
When the police returned there was a Morroccan couple with them. They stopped just outside my house and I heard the woman say her husband needed an ambulance, though he didn’t appear outwardly hurt to me.
The ambulance duly arrived, again at the top of the street, but I didn’t see anyone get into it.
And that was the end of my neighbourhood watch activities for the day!
But the thing is, when Jeanne, visiting a few days later, asked our neighbour what the problem had been, she just said “Nada”. She was clearly uncomfortable and rushed off.
And I remember when I first moved in and asked the previous owners if there was ever any trouble, the wife, a lovely smiley Spanish matriarch, said: “I mind my own business and nobody sticks their nose into mine.”
Clearly the neighbourhood protects its own, and in some ways that could work in my favour. As their ‘vecina’ or neighbour I will be afforded some kind of protection – that’s what Cantalejo our criminal lawyer friend told me too.
But if I were to start asking too many questions….. Well, they might not like that too much.
But just before you all start worrying, I do actually feel perfectly safe here and I live my quiet little life and don’t interfere with the neighbours.
As my friend and former editor of the Costa Almeria News, Richard Torné, said as he sent me the press report on the murder: “Whatever they may say about La Chanca, it’s a lively neighbourhood. All we ever get is woeful street cleaning services and the odd dead dog.”
There’s a true journalist for you, hankering after the action!!