More lights and fewer trees are among the changes planned for Libby Lake Park in Oceanside - the site of two homicide cases involving teenagers in the past two years. NBC 7's Danya Bacchus reports.
Just days after a shooting at an Oceanside park left two teenagers dead and two others wounded, local law enforcement and the community are demanding action, vowing to make the park a safer place.
On Wednesday at around 9 p.m., four teenagers were shot by unknown suspects at Libby Lake Park in the 500 block of Calle Montecito.
When police arrived at the scene, two of the teenagers were dead from gunshot wounds and the other two were injured. Police said at least two of the teenage victims were shot more than once during the attack.
Witnesses told police they saw several people running from the scene following the shooting. Investigators are now looking for several Hispanic male suspects that may have fled the scene in a gray or silver, 2005 or 2006 Toyota Tacoma or Toyota Tundra extended cab style pickup truck.
The teenagers who were shot to death at the park were later identified by family and friends as 16-year-old Edgar Sanchez Rios and 13-year-old Melanie Virgen.
This shooting was near the site of another fatal shooting that happened in Libby Lake Park nearly 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.
With the loss of four young lives in less than two years, law enforcement and city officials are vowing to make changes at the park in hopes of preventing more violence.
On Thursday, police officers and city officials assessed the park, trying to figure out what could be done to make it a safer place.
Lt. Karen Laser has been working the Oceanside neighborhood for nearly 20 years and says much of the violence in the area has decreased over the decades.
“I’d say 90 to 95 percent of what I saw in the early ‘90s is gone,” said Lt. Laser.
And she’s determined to keep it that way.
Lt. Laser says there’s an area in the park covered by trees that they’re working on clearing for more visibility.
The Oceanside Police Department and city plan to make immediate changes in the park, including adding more lights along an embankment in the park and cutting down trees to provide a clean line of sight.
Pastor Sheldon Brown of Oceanside Family Fellowship Church says the changes are much needed.
"To see the lights that we have here now and what they plan on doing. I believe that will help immensely,” he told NBC 7.
Pastor Brown says he’s worked closely with the police department and Oceanside residents for nearly two decades and says the deadly shooting is one of the reasons the community is uniting – determined to make the area a better place once and for all.
“I get upset. I get angry, but then I overcome that, then I realize we have to do more and we're not going to give up,” said Brown.
The Oceanside Police Department is handling the ongoing investigation on the fatal shooting at Libby Lake Park. Officials have established a tip line for anyone with information regarding this double-homicide. The tip line phone number is (760) 435-4730.