Antioch residents call for peace in wake of shootings

April 6, 2011 5:35:50 PM PDT
A series of shootings in Antioch is sending bullets and fear through the community. There have been three shootings in three days. The latest one happened Wednesday afternoon at Spanos and Magnolia. No one was hurt there, but on Monday one man was shot in the leg. Then, a short time later, another man was shot in the face.

A dozen or so people showed up for an anti-violence rally Wednesday afternoon, but many more did not attend, afraid to show their faces for fear of gang retaliation.

"We're tired of it," said Rev. Nicolas Alexander of Do the World Ministries. "We're out here and we want to make a stance."

It was a simple message -- a plea for help.

"Put out these signs, get support of the people driving by honking," said Tique Lee Caul with the NAACP. "What else do you do?

There was in fact a sense of urgency.

"We just know we heard gunshots and we ran," said a neighbor. "We ran for our lives."

There was another shooting just hours before the rally a couple of blocks away, where a car's window was shattered and bullets lodged into the wall of the home.

"It's ridiculous," said neighbor Yvonne Foster, mother of two. "They can't even walk by themselves; they're 17 and 11. I'm scared for them and I'm scared for myself, too."

The two shootings Monday were within blocks of each other at the sprawling apartment complex on Sycamore Street. The first shooting happened in the afternoon. Police say it started with a fight and a 24-year-old was shot in the leg.

"They just kept going, like boom, boom, boom, boom," said neighbor Jasmine Williams.

Then, at sundown, neighbors say dozens of shots were fired in a running gun battle between Norteño and Sureño gang members. Shell casings littered the driveways where children usually play. The windows of parked cars were shattered. Bullet holes pockmarked the walls of apartment units. A 9-year-old boy's bedroom was sprayed with bullets. Fortunately, he was not there. But a 19-year-old was shot in the neck in a nearby driveway. Doctors say he's paralyzed from the chest down.

Tuesday, some tenants began moving out. They loaded their belongings into U-Hauls. They told ABC7 they had enough of the increasing violence.

Arienna Rivers was at the rally. She fears for her baby.

"With all the things happening in this area, yes, I feel like my child, she doesn't have a chance," she said.

An Antioch police lieutenant tells ABC7 that reports of shots being fired are almost a daily occurrence, and authorities are trying to do the best they can, but budget cuts have cut the department's force by about a quarter.

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