Dozens gathered at Balboa Park Monday to protest recent gun violence in San Diego and across the United States, including two deadly shootings this week believed to be fueled by hate.
On Saturday, a white 18-year-old shot and killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket. Police say he researched the local demographics and arrived in the area a day in advance to conduct reconnaissance with the “express purpose” of killing as many Black people as possible, officials said Sunday.
Organizers of Monday's demonstration say a repeat of the shooting in Buffalo can happen in any Black community across the country, including here in San Diego.
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Protesters told NBC 7 they won't stop speaking out until the government takes them seriously. Aeiramique Glass-Blake, who was scheduled to speak at the rally, said what happened in Buffalo is a function of the government not keeping promises in the wake of George Floyd's murder at the hands of police.
Danielle Wilkerson, co-founder of East County BIPOC Coalition, referenced the deadly shooting of Amir Locke, who was killed by Minnesota police during a no-knock warrant and said "when a terrorist in Buffalo can be safely arrested but Black people are murdered in their sleep, you know the system is not broken, but working exactly how it is designed -- to protect white supremacy and destroy the Black community."
Event organizer Wendy Wheatcroft said Monday's rally was about taking a stand.
"I think it's extremely important we push back against white male extremism every single time, because it's not just our Black community, although they're suffering disproportionately, it's our Jewish community, our Muslim community, our AAPI women, LGBT folks. There are more of us than there are of [white supremacists] and we need to push back every time," Wheatcroft said.
Recent San Diego Shootings
Early Monday morning, a 52-year-old was shot and killed near Normal Heights. By Evening time, no arrests had been made and there was no description of the shooter.
That killing was just hours apart from another shooting in City Heights that left another man dead.
A City Heights resident told NBC 7 the violence isn't new for her neighborhood.
“It’s very dangerous. I mean, we know it’s been like that for a while and so we’re worried. They know the situation already so it’s just frustrating that nothing gets done about it,” she said.
On Saturday morning, a mother was shot dead and her 12-year-old son suffered gunshot wounds following an argument in an apartment complex in Lincoln Park.
Bishop Cornelius Bowser is a former gang member turned community activist. He now works to prevent gun violence in San Diego.
He said more people are getting their hands on guns.
“So easy access to guns right, and with the ghost gun issue that’s flooding our streets and the illegal guns out there,” said Bowser.
In National City, a 29 year-old was gunned down on Saturday evening. He later died at the hospital. National City police are looking for a suspect or suspects and witnesses that may have seen something.
“Instead of just a fight and it’s done with, now they’re shooting,” said Bowser.
Away from San Diego, a gunman opened fire inside an Orange County church, killing one and injuring five Sunday morning. Investigators describe the attack as a "politically-motivated hate incident."