STOCKTON -- A violent Memorial Day weekend in Stockton continued into Tuesday morning after shots were fired into a home on Chambord Drive, striking a 12-year-old boy.
There were eight shootings that left two people dead all in just three days.
On May 28 of last year, there were 13 homicides in the city. This year, that number has already reached 20 and in the month of May alone, there have been seven people killed.
"Lately, it’s been like a war going off around here," said Danny O’Toole.
Danny and Jaci O'Toole described the scare that played out Tuesday around 1 a.m. on Chambord Drive.
"It was real close to home," Danny O'Toole recalled. "We just got to bed and all of a sudden heard about, I would say, six shots ring out."
Stockton police say the 12-year-old boy who was hit is expected to be OK.
Sunday night, police responded to two deadly shootings.
The first happened at the Polo Run Apartments on Palisades Drive, where a man was killed. Just a few blocks away and a couple of hours later, four people were shot at the Central Oak Apartment Complex on East Oak Avenue. A 16-year-old was killed.
Right now, investigators don’t have a motive for any of the shootings.
Mayor Michael Tubbs released a statement about the recent violence, which reads:
This weekend is another reminder that we must do more to create a better and safer Stockton. Last year we saw some promising signs. We witnessed a 40% drop in homicides and 30% drop in shootings, which illustrates that we can be a safer community. Yet, despite this drop, we still have a lot of work to do, to improve public safety. The level of violence we are experiencing is unacceptable and will not be our norm.
"Don’t understand why all these shootings are occurring but I sure would like to find out if there’s a way to fix all this stuff," Danny O'Toole said.
But police might have the answer.
"It's called Operation RVN, which is Reducing Violence in Neighborhoods," said Officer Joe Silva with the Stockton Police Department. "It's an all hands on deck approach where we are going to be working side by side with the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office, the California Highway Patrol and we are going to saturate those neighborhoods where we've seen an increase in violence, specifically gun violence."
The CHP, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s deputies and Stockton police officers will deploy a more visible presence in areas prone to gun violence.
The Stockton Police Department says they are already seeing some positive results. For example, in a shooting at a Chevron gas station Monday morning on West Lane, a team with the operation was in the area.
"When they heard the gunshots and due to their quick response, we were able to arrest a suspect and located two discarded firearms," Silva said.
As for the O'Tooles, they are optimistic about Operation RVN, hoping it can stop the violence that hit so close to home.
"There is a lot happening out in this area of Stockton, quite a bit," Danny O'Toole said. "We’re praying for the 12-year-old that got shot. That's all you can do, figure out a way to resolve all this stuff."
Stockton's Police Chief Discusses Operation RVN
Stockton’s police chief says now is not the time to be shy about asking for help in curbing gun violence and killings in his city.
"We just don’t have the resources and capacity to deal with the type of spike that we’ve had lately," said Chief Eric Jones.
Jones says there is no quick solution. Recent shootings have occurred right in front of officers.
"(Officers) actually witnessed a shooting in the neighborhood where they were supposed to be. Made an arrest, recovered two firearms in that one," Jones told FOX40.
In addition to help from outside agencies, officers in the department will be reassigned as necessary as situations develop in real time.
"Could be those who might be behind a desk normally but we’re getting them out in these neighborhoods," Jones said. "It’s imperative that we are very nimble in our strategy."
While Jones says the victims are most often targeted, the danger to innocent civilians from stray bullets remain.
There is a long-term strategy that entails a commitment from schools, churches, employers and civic groups.
"We need to be concerned about the next generation that may be picking up guns and wanting to use them. What are we as a community doing to intervene and prevent that?" the police chief said.
A big component to helping prevent violence is getting citizens to report suspicious activity to stave off the violence. Jones says the smallest piece of information could aid in that effort, which is why people can give confidential information to prevent or solve crimes through the Crime Stoppers hotline.