Skip to Content

Columbia Parks and Rec staff eye changes at ARC after June fight

FILE - A notice on a glass door at Columbia's Activity & Recreation Center tells entrants that concealed guns are barred from the building.
FILE - A notice on a glass door at Columbia's Activity & Recreation Center tells entrants that concealed guns are barred from the building.


Columbia Parks and Recreation is considering several changes to the Activity and Recreation Center following a fight with a gun this summer.

Parks director Gabe Huffington said he and his staff have considered numerous changes to the building, including new security features. 

Police took many people into custody following the fight on June 11. Prosecutors accused 38-year-old Lakeisha Thomas on suspicion of bringing a gun into the ARC as part of the fight. Kameron Mearidy, 19, faces charges for allegedly assaulting someone as well.

Huffington said the department would install several new security cameras throughout the property. That includes six new cameras inside and two cameras in the parking lot. Huffington said the June fight helped them identify parts of the property without camera coverage.

VIDEO: A report from the day of the fight at the ARC is available in the player

The department also plans to overhaul the front desk setup to potentially put it closer to the front doors. Huffington said a new layout would both improve customer service and security by allowing staff to better see people coming into the building.

“So in terms of stopping them to talk to us, or how do they go by to enter into what I call the swimming pool, basketball area, fitness equipment, we’re going to start to work on that this fall to winter, and then go to city council for approval,” Huffington said. “But we have a lot of discussions about our control desk and how we control and greet people, really, as they come into our building.”

AJ Rugen, who started a Facebook group of concerned people following the June fight, said other tools like metal detectors should also be installed.

“If you see somebody coming toward a building with a gun, and you can set off an alarm, having that barrier to slow them down, you know, seconds matter,” Rugen said.

ABC 17 News obtained security camera video from the fight. See that video and what training staff will now go through in an ABC 17 News Investigates story at 10 p.m. on Thursday.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

Jump to comments ↓

Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content