Community Seeks Solutions at Meeting Addressing Stockton’s Violence

STOCKTON -- Hundreds gathered at Weston Ranch High School Wednesday night concerned about recent violence in their neighborhoods and with the hope of finding solutions.

"We've had three violent acts of murder that have taken place. Two at the Food 4 Less shopping center and one at one of the local parks here adjacent to August Knodt School," said Irene Burgess, who has lived in Weston Ranch for seven years.

"I'm heartbroken right now," said 17-year Weston Ranch resident Satnam Singh. "I'm here with the hope that we are looking for some change."

Residents voiced their fears to local officials, including the mayor, police and fire chiefs, as well as the district attorney and school administrators. They broke into smaller groups, to exchange ideas before reconvening as a whole.

Yolanda Amen and her family considered Juliese Batieste as family. The 22-year-old assistant football coach and the most recent homicide victim in that area was fatally shot in Weston Park.

"Someone was able to come into our community and cut his life short," Amen said. "We as a community all need to come together to ensure that no one more of our youth or young adults, not one, is taken away from us."

"Overall crime is down substantially, but it's not always about the statistics. It's about how the community feels," said Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones. "What is their sentiment? How safe do they feel?"

Eight years ago, Mayor Tubbs' cousin was murdered in Stockton. He says he knows firsthand the heartache of losing a loved one to violence.

"The issues, not just in Weston Ranch, but in Stockon, are bigger than one town hall, one tragedy and one meeting," Tubbs said. "It's gonna take continually meeting like this all the time, in good times and in bad times, to reach some progress."