STOCKTON — A deadly weekend in Stockton, involving three separate shootings, took the lives of five people and sent another to a hospital.
Monday night, community members and city leaders were wondering what could be done to put an end to the violence.
Tragedy often connects families in the city of Stockton. The ideas of how to prevent it can also divide them.
“So we have to get better as a community,” said Bambi Vanshy.
The Stockton Police Department reports Vanshy’s nephew, 14-year-old Nicolas Sihalath, was gunned down while riding his bike with a friend last month. Their murders remain unsolved.
“Anytime someone is taken from you it’s hard,” Vanshy said.
Vanshy along with other community members would like to see more action in their city.
“We need to have programs for the youth, number one, because we do see more homicides happening with the youth,” she said.
Stockton’s Office of Violence Prevention, or OVP, says they work with the most violent offenders in the city to curb crime. Their office builds trust and relationships to link problematic individuals with needed resources.
“I want programs like OVP and Advance Peace,” said Stockton Councilwoman Christina Fugazi. “I want programs like that to succeed but they need to have measurable outcomes.”
OVP says they’ve helped more than 200 people from January 2017 to December 2018.
The latest data shows homicides almost doubled in the last year in Stockton, from five in March 2018 to nine so far this year.
For a city often fractured by violence, many people FOX40 talked to said promoting safer neighborhoods must involve working together.
“They think that we as individuals, we can solve this,” Fugazi said. “We can’t. We have to come together as a community.”
Stockton Angel Mothers and other groups are putting together a prayer vigil set for this Thursday. OVP is also hosting its Community Engagement Coalition meeting Tuesday morning at the Memorial Civic Auditorium.