While National City police search for the individuals behind the shooting of a 16-year-old boy who investigators fear won't survive, a San Diego religious leader is speaking out about a recent stretch of violence involving young people.
“We need unity and love in San Diego instead of these shootings," Bay View Church deacon Perry Owens said. "We are heartbroken. This is the lowest you can get when your baby gets shot."
Shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, officers received reports of a shooting near the intersection of East 16th Street and Euclid Avenue. There, the National City Police Department (NCPD) found the teen victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.
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The teen was rushed to a local trauma center and remains on life support as of Thursday night. Police described his injuries as “non-survivable.”
A neighbor who wished to remain anonymous told NBC 7 she saw the victim on the ground.
"He was taking his last breath and he was shaking," she said.
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Deacon Owens said that while investigating the crime is police business, discouraging violence among children is everyone’s responsibility.
"Parents, grab your kids. Community, grab your kids. Put them in positive things and show them love and grace," Owens said.
Ownes and several ministerial community leaders are organizing a vigil for this latest victim on Friday at Kimbell Park in National City at 5:30 p.m.
Witnesses told detectives they saw three people run eastbound on East 16th Street shortly after the shooting. A description of the suspect group was not immediately available, and police said they are not releasing the name of the teen victim at this time. Details on what led up to the shooting are still unclear.
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to contact NCPD’s Investigations Division at (619) 336-4457. Anonymous tips can be made by contacting Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.