Community Seeks to Stop Libby Lake Park Violence

Four teens have died at the Oceanside park since May 2011

Nearly a year after the shooting deaths of two teens at Libby Lake Park, members of the Oceanside community are demanding an end to gang violence.

"We're tired of this nonsense violence," said Natalie, a sister of one of the victims.

Natalie didn't want to be identified by last name because she fears retaliation. Just last week, a Mira Costa College student was arrested for allegedly sending death threats via text message to students if they talked about the murders.

On March 13, 2013, four teens were gunned down in Libby Lake Park. Two of the victims, 16-year-old Edgar Sanchez Rios and 13-year-old Melanie Virgen, were killed.

Fernando Felix Solano, 16, and Sandra Salgado, 14, were shot to death in the same community park on May 3, 2011.

"It's shocking when it happens to you,” Natalie said. “You think you can come to the park and bring your kids, but then something like that can happen to you. It is scary.”

Since the shootings, Natalie says she's seen a little change. Trees that used to cloak and conceal the area have been chopped down to stubs. Light poles were installed around the area where the two teens were shot.

Still, family and friends say more changes need to be made.

"Things haven’t gotten better,” said Isabelle Fried, a teacher at El Camino High School, where one of the victims went to school. “We have a lot of work to do here in Oceanside."

Fried and her students started raising funds to dedicate a bench in memory of all the teens killed at Libby Lake Park in the past three years.

“To me, the memorial bench is going to be a symbol of strength, a symbol of moving past the pain when you have to," Fried said.

On Sunday, the victims’ families hosted a fundraiser. Members of the Oceanside community opened their hearts and their wallets to take back their community.

"If we raise enough money for the bench, any money that’s left over is to fix up the park,” Natalie explained. “I know what it is to lose somebody, and I don’t want anyone else to go through it again.”

Sunday’s event raised more than $1,000. They hope to have the bench up by the shooting's one year anniversary in March.

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