Community leaders and Sacramento City Council members are reacting to a wave of gang violence in Oak Park that includes the shooting death of a father and injuries to a pregnant woman.
Tamika L'Ecluse lives in Oak Park and is with Oak Park Neighborhood Association and the Greater Sacramento Urban League. She says has been asking for Shot Spotter technology for the area for the last two years. She says that's part of the solution, but hard work by the community has to be the driving force.
“Having people die once a week and checking to see who it is, if you know them, if they're a neighbor, a mom, a brother, an uncle, a child is pretty nerve-wracking,“ she says. “But, I can't give up and I can't let it get me down and I can't let it stop me. It just makes me push harder and want to find solutions more.“
Jim Beezley is a Captain with the Sacramento Police Department. He says resources have been moved in response to the shootings.
“We've deployed most all of our special targeted enforcement teams in that specific area: the PRCS team which deals with parolees who have been released from prison, gang detectives, POP officers, SWAT team and patrol are all focusing on that geographic area,“ says Beezley. “We partnered with the Sheriff's Department. We're using their gang resources as well to target specific individuals.“
Rachelle Ditmore lives on the same street as one of the victims.
“Ove the past five weeks, we’ve had eight shootings and seven homicides. (It’s a) generational gang war. (There’s a) shooting every night,” says Ditmore.
She says her family heard yet another shooting not long after her pregnant neighbor was shot on Friday.
“My husband and I had actually come home with our children to yellow tape one more time and were getting inside our door and we heard nine more shots go off,“ she says. “My neighbor actually said to me, ‘Rachelle, it sounds like we’re living in a war zone.’”
At a news conference, city council members listed some of the programs that were just approved for next year's budget that may address the issue. They include a $1 million increase in programs for young people, more money for police, and more training for officers.
Pastor Anthony Sadler says all are needed.
“I think it begins even before all of this because, whether you be victim or perpetrator, somewhere along the way we have failed them as a community,” he says.
The Sacramento Police Department says there were 16 confirmed homicides in the city through the end of May and three homicide investigations so far this month. The department says that's about on par with the number of murders last year.