Three Recent Homicides Stir Worry in Weston Ranch Community

WESTON RANCH -- The three most recent victims of homicide in Weston Ranch are all former Weston Ranch High School students.

There have been 23 homicides in Stockton so far this year and three in the Weston Ranch neighborhood alone.

Batieste with his mother.

The latest man shot dead is 22-year-old Juliese Batieste, a talented football player who served as an assistant football coach last school year. He was a son, loved ones say, who helped support his single mother and his siblings.

Batieste's mother said he was just promoted and was an acting supervisor at Tesla.  He went to Delta College before that and in high school was the captain of the football team, as well as homecoming king.

His former football coach, Seth Davis, says Batieste was one of a kind.

"He was a favorite because he did whatever we needed him to do. He showed up on time, he was working hard," Davis told FOX40. "He was the leader to the younger kids. He gave back and he did everything that a coach, a parent, a brother could ever ask for."

Batieste was gunned down near Paul E. Weston Park Friday evening.

Investigators with the Stockton Police Department say he was driven to a hospital by a relative when he died.

Just weeks earlier 21-year-old Isaac Thurman was gunned down at the Food 4 Less parking lot. Back in April 18-year-old Ruben Cisneros was killed in the very same parking lot.

Neighbors tell FOX40 the community and its leaders need to do better by the next generation.

"Really need to find a way to reach our kids," said Susan Feighery, who is on the Community Advisory Board. "We need to be better parents and we just need to be able to be better community members."

Eric Duncan, who is a Manteca Unified School District board member, also knew Batieste. He says he was an impressive young man.

To prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again he believes more police and services are needed in Weston Ranch.

"To the point where we’re really fed up and you know," Duncan said. "And, like I said, we can’t know what’s going to come or what the future holds. But we can be preventative at the same time by, like I said, having security cameras and beefing up the patrols in this area."

Neighbors also say they would like to hear from their City Councilman Jesus Andrade. Andrade told FOX40 that he is set to meet with community members this Friday to vet potential safety solutions. He released the following statement Tuesday:

"The loss of just one life in Stockton is one too many. Together, we reduced our homicide rate by 30 percent compared to last year. I am willing to work with anyone that wants to find solutions. What I am sick of is people playing games, using tragedies to push a political agenda. Whispering in a victim's ear that this or that person is to blame. Let's address our challenges together and not divide our community."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Batieste's family.