A year after receiving a report indicating a Commerce house violated various codes, city officials say that the owner is making strides in meeting their requirements.
But 1509 Caddo Street is different from just any house. Commerce Code Enforcement Officer Michael “Pee Wee” Walker was shot and killed by Adam Kelly Ward on June 13, 2005 while inspecting 1509 Caddo. Adam was convicted of capital murder in 2007 and received the death penalty. His appeal is still pending in a federal court.
In November of last year, Pee Wee’s father Dick Walker publicly asked the city of Commerce to honor his son by enforcing city code violations at 1509 Caddo Street. According to Commerce Mayor Dr. John Ballotti, the city and Ward have established a plan and timeline for the cleanup and repair of the property. Ballotti said Director of Community Development Steve Wilson and City Manager Marc Clayton regularly review the property and provide updates to the city.
“It’s been an issue for quite some time, and we’ve tried to handle it,” Ballotti said. “Mr. Ward and Steve have reached an agreement, and they’re working on that. It’s being cleaned up and satisfying those requirements. Steve is happy with what’s happening. It’s moving forward.”
Walker knows the city has been working with Ward to clean up the yard, but said the agreement is nothing more than “playing games with him.”
“You can drive by the house and see he’s picked up some stuff, but not much,” he said, adding something needs to be done about the house itself. “When you take a picture of that house or drive by that house, you don’t have to be a builder to know that the dumb thing is fixing to fall down.”
In the nine years since his son’s murder, the ticket “Pee Wee” was working on still has not been filed by the city.