NBC 7 San Diego
A memorial site at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside following the March killings of two teenagers at the park.
City organizers hosted a Community Resource Fair inside the park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. designed to connect locals with different resources and opportunities.
According to event organizers, the resource fair usually takes place on the street, but this time the City of Oceanside chose to host the event at Libby Lake Park in an effort to “take back” the park.
Since the shooting, resource fair organizers say the Oceanside community has been hesitant about spending time at the scenic site. Saturday’s event was, in a way, an effort to remind the community that the park belongs to them.
On Mar. 13 at around 9 p.m., four teens were gunned down at Libby Lake Park on Calle Montecito. The shooting left two of the teenagers dead and the other two injured.
The teenage victims killed at the park were later identified by family and friends as 16-year-old Edgar Sanchez Rios and 13-year-old Melanie Virgen. The two other injured teens, ages 17 and 18, were hospitalized.
A couple of weeks later, Oceanside police officers along with U.S. Marshals, FBI and ATF agents served search warrants in Oceanside and Vista and arrested three adults and one juvenile for their involvement in the park shooting.
Martin Melendrez, 21, of Vista; Michael Zurita, 19, of Vista; Santo Diaz, 19, of Oceanside and an unidentified 17-year-old were arrested in connection with the shooting and charged with murder, attempted murder and participation in a criminal street gang.
Bail for the suspects was denied in early April, and they’ve been in jail ever since. Melendrez, Zurita and Diaz are scheduled to appear in court again on Aug. 6.
The shooting in March at Libby Lake Park was near the site of another fatal shooting that happened there two years ago. On May 3, 2011, the bodies of teens Fernando Felix Solano, 16, and Sandra Salgado, 14, were found shot to death near the park. Today, a memorial site stands in the area.
Saturday’s family-friendly event featured more than 20 agencies, including the Vista Community Clinic and Mira Costa College, providing resources and information to attendees. The resource fair also featured a magic show, face painting and live music and dance performances.
The event was sponsored by the City of Oceanside Neighborhood Services Department, Oceanside Police Department and the Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) organization.
Following the fatal shooting in March, Oceanside police, local leaders and the community demanded action and vowed to make the park a safer place, including clearing some trees to allow for greater visibility.