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  • this is where i live, home sweet home.

    this is where i live home sweet home, almost as bad as new york, we need a shaolin temple here.

    Taking a stand against violence
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    Shootings prompt call for residents to unite

    By Kristen Green

    May 21, 2005

    The sound of gunfire is a sad reality in southeastern San Diego, where children are afraid to walk home from school and the concentration of gang members is higher than in any other area of the city.

    While reported crime has dropped nationally, statewide and even in the city's southeastern communities, shootings are still a regular occurrence in its diverse neighborhoods, which are claimed by at least 18 gangs.

    In a recent spate of shootings, a 10-year-old girl was shot in the stomach while riding in her mother's car and a 16-year-old boy was shot in the chest near a popular Encanto park. On Thursday, a 16-year-old boy was shot near a trolley station in Lincoln Park, just hours after a 20-year-old man walking with his girlfriend was wounded in a Chollas View drive-by shooting. All survived.

    Thursday night, two apparent gang members were shot in a confrontation with other gang members in Lomita. One of the victims was on life support in a hospital, police said.

    Michael Brunker, executive director of the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, which serves 10,000 children a year from more than a dozen communities, said he is disturbed by how often young people are hurt or killed in shootings.

    "There's got to be more that can be done to stop the next one," he said. "The repeated loss of life is just something that's unbearable."

    City Councilman Tony Young said fighting gangs is his highest priority. He believes gang violence is a regional problem and has teamed up with Councilman Jim Madaffer to put together a gang task force to combat gang violence countywide.

    He acknowledged more must be done in his district, which stretches from Mountain View to Skyline.

    Last year, 27 homicides and 103 shootings occurred in the communities of his district. There were nine homicides in the first four months of 2004 and five this year; reported shootings have dropped from 32 during the first four months last year to 25 this year.

    Fifteen of this year's shooting victims were younger than 23.

    Among the crimes reported in the past six weeks:

    A 10-year-old girl was struck in the stomach by a bullet that passed through her mother's sport utility vehicle when a group of gang members fired into a crowd on a Lincoln Park street April 11. A 17-year-old boy associated with a gang was shot in a leg in the same incident.

    Valentine Madrigal, 23, was fatally shot April 28 in Emerald Hills, a victim of a feud between two tagger groups, police said. Madrigal was killed hours before a city meeting on the budget was scheduled to start at nearby Malcolm X Library & Performing Arts Center. No one has been arrested.

    On May 8, 16-year-old Marco Gomez was shot multiple times near his Mount Hope home. He later died. Police don't know why he was killed and have not arrested anyone.

    A 16-year-old was shot in the chest near Encanto Community Park on May 10 after agreeing to fight a man who had flashed gang signs at him. The victim, who police say is not involved with gangs, survived. Police later arrested a 17-year-old, who has been charged with attempted murder.

    Not all crimes are reported to police.

    While Young said the decrease in reported attacks is encouraging, "We have not scratched the surface in dealing with this issue."

    A major hurdle is a lack of services that address prevention or intervention, he said.

    He said he voted against the proposed police budget and the library budget and will oppose cuts to the 6-to-6 before-and after-school program and Park & Recreation Department programs because they would shortchange children. Young, a former teacher, said he believes there is a direct correlation between children having too much time on their hands and their involvement in gangs.

    "It doesn't take long for a child to get in with the wrong crowd," he said.

    Rickey Laster, chairman of Black Men United, founded 2½ years ago to address violence in the area, said he believes his group and two offshoots – the "OGs" (Overcoming Gangs) and Urban Advocates – have raised awareness about violence in southeastern San Diego.

    "For a long time it was almost like people were unconcerned," he said. "People are standing up more, people are speaking up more, people are getting involved more."

    The three groups have organized rallies, mentored children at school and worked with police to broker peace between rival gangs. And although he is reassured by the drop in violent crimes, Laster said he realizes the problem won't go away overnight.

    "I wish we had a magic wand," he said.

    He said he believes further decreasing gang violence is going to take the involvement of more community members who watch out for each other. "We've tried everything else but uniting," he said.

    Travis Stocking, a founding member of the OGs, said he thinks the four community rallies his group of former gang members organized have empowered the community. He will host the fifth such rally at 1 p.m. today at Oceanview Park.

    "We don't just do the rallies and walk away," he said. Instead, members of his group go out in the neighborhoods and talk with youths, encouraging them to stay away from gangs.

    Stocking, who runs a boxing school near Southcrest Community Park, said he decided to act because he was tired of the violence and worried about the safety of his three children.

    "I don't want my kids getting shot," he said.

    Stocking said he allows his 13-year-old son to walk to his Skyline school, but not to neighborhood parks.

    His eldest daughter, Shazella, 17, said she also is concerned her brother will be hurt.

    "I think about it every time he goes out," she said.

    She said she and her classmates talk about the violence every Friday in their English class at Morse High School. The girls aren't worried about getting hurt, she said. But the boys say they feel scared just to walk around the block, and their parents won't let them wear the colors of gangs who claim their neighborhood, she said.

    Councilman Young, who has two daughters, has worked with David Ramirez, captain of the Police Department's Southeastern Division, to get more officers around schools before and after classes.

    Police also have worked closely with Young's office to target crime at the Meadowbrook Apartments, a sprawling complex in Bay Terraces that has been the scene of several homicides, including two in a one-month span last fall.

    With the help of the City Attorney's Office, Young's office urged the building's owners to improve safety at the apartments. The owners have since installed a 48-camera video surveillance system, added lighting and cut back the trees that surround the complex.

    Police Chief Bill Lansdowne, who was chief of the San Jose Police Department before moving here, said a regional task force was effective in the Bay Area. The task force Young and Madaffer want to create could includeschool principals, church groups, nonprofits, juvenile probation officers, law enforcement representatives and prosecutors. They would be charged with creating a plan to reduce gang violence.

    Lansdowne said that when he floated the idea before the county's police chiefs, it was warmly received.

    Michelle Beckwith, whose son, Michael, was killed last year at the Meadowbrook Apartments, said police can't shoulder all the responsibility for reducing violence. Getting the community involved is a good start, she said, but parents need to control their own children.

    "Parents have to stop turning their heads, saying my child's not doing this," Beckwith said.

    Brunker of the YMCA said that if a violent act occurs, parents should ask themselves if they can account for their children. If they can't, it's possible their children are the ones perpetrating the violence, he said. "These kids are going home at night," he said. "They're storing their weapons underneath their beds, under their mattress or in the back of their top drawer." Union-Tribune library researcher Denise Davidson contributed to this report.
    "Life is a run. In attack we run, in defense we run. When you can no longer run, time to die" - Shichiroji "Seven samurai"

  • #2
    a very close childhood friend of mine

    Shooting victim identified as National City man
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    11:13 a.m. May 21, 2005

    SAN DIEGO – A man who died in a San Diego hospital after a shooting in Lomita was identified today as a 20-year-old National City resident.

    xxxxx died at Scripps Mercy Hospital at 9:20 a.m. Friday, medical examiner Investigator Sal Rodriguez said.

    The attack in the xxxxxxxx happened about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, San Diego police Lt. Mike Hurley said.

    Officers responding to a "shots fired" call found bullet holes in a home and a vehicle and blood on the street, but no victims, Hurley said.

    A short time later, two men suffering from gunshot wounds were dropped off at Paradise Valley Hospital, Hurley said.

    The person who dropped them off did not remain at the hospital, he said.

    xxxxxx was transferred to Scripps Mercy Hospital, where he died, xxxxxx said.

    The other man underwent surgery for his gunshot wounds and was in critical condition, police said.

    Authorities said they believe the shooting may be gang-related. Anyone with information about the shooting was urged to call San Diego police at (619) 531-2293 or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-TIPS.
    "Life is a run. In attack we run, in defense we run. When you can no longer run, time to die" - Shichiroji "Seven samurai"


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