PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) — It has been five days since two men were gunned down in broad daylight on the Phenix City riverwalk.
Phenix City police tell us that there has not been an arrest in the shooting deaths of John Arthur Burkus, 32, and Darrely Harris, 40.
Hours after the double homicide Phenix City police released a photo of a man they called “a Person of Interest.”
The next day they released the video of the of the “person of interest.” Police tell WRBL they are still looking for this person.
This double homicide has raised concerns about riverwalk safety in Phenix City and Columbus.
Thursday morning 30-year-old Kevin Lambert of Baltimore was in Columbus on business and was staying at a riverfront hotel in Phenix City.
He had just finished a four-mile riverwalk morning run when I caught up with him.
Here was his exchange with a reporter Thursday.
Lambert: “I ran south, then I ran north.”
Reporter: You ran through an area where there was a double homicide on Saturday afternoon. You didn’t know that when you were running did you?
Lambert: “No not at all.”
Reporter: What do you think?
Lambert: “I think it’s tragic. I think the loss of life is horrific. And I am sorry it happened. Is this technically considered Phenix City? I am sorry it happened in Phenix City. It’s tragic and I’m saddened by it quite a bit. But otherwise, I didn’t see anybody else on the trail. I didn’t know about it. I didn’t feel unsafe. Now, that I know about it, I will be careful. And I definitely am not going to run with headphones in.”
Daniel Gilbert Jr. runs Whitewater Express, a river outfitter. He was good friends with John Burkus. In fact, Burkus worked at times for Whitewater Express guiding river raft tours.
“I know personally, I actually went out and rode along the save path several times, every day since it happened,” Gilbert said. “I have gone up and down that side of the river … that’s my home. This is my home and I don’t want something like that to change the way I operate.”
Neither does John and Lois Sorensen. The retired couple lives in Columbus and are regular riverwalk users.
“I would say that I am kind of always aware of what’s around me but this is not going to hold me back,” Lois Sorensen said.
Burkus’ death has had an impact on Gilbert and others who knew the 32-year-old outdoor enthusiast.
“I have been on a couple of runs down the river with kayaks with friends,” Gilbert said. “Each time we have paddled by it’s a deep, flat stretch of water. Right there we have popped our helmets off. And taken a few seconds to pay him our respects as we paddle by.”
There is not believed to be any connection between Harris and Burkus other than they were in the same place around the same time Saturday afternoon. WRBL was told that police believe that something was happening between Harris and the shooter and Burkus was drawn into it.