San Diego

Two South Bay Communities On Alert Following Series of Deadly Shootings

A series of deadly shootings has people in two South Bay communities concerned they might be in the middle of a gang war.

There have been three deadly shootings in the past three weeks in Paradise Hills and Bay Terraces. A curbside memorial of flowers and candles marks the spot where Joaquin Ruiz was found shot to death Friday night in his car on Paradise Valley Road.

Additional resources and members of the San Diego Police Department’s Special Operations Team are working to root out the problem, not just by doing patrols.

“Their job is to be proactive and essentially track down leads detectives need to follow up on,” said SDPD Lt. Shawn Takeuchi.

For City Councilmember Monica Montgomery, the recent violence is personal.

“It’s where I grew up, it’s home,” Montgomery said. The District 4 representative she’s determined to fix the problem.

As a proponent of increasing police and community relations, she says she plans to improve police relationships with community leaders, including former gang members.

“There are facts police can gather, then there are facts that folks who are closer to the ground can gather. And I think we have to strengthen that relationship so we have all the facts we need to solve what’s going on on the street right now," said Montgomery.

Though the most recent statistics show the number of homicides across the City of San Diego in 2018 compared to 2017 stayed the same at 35, the number of homicides in SDPD’s Southeastern Division, which includes Paradise Hills and Bay Terraces, doubled to eight last year.

The totals in the Central and Western Divisions also more than doubled.

Councilmember Montgomery says she’s looking toward economic development to help remedy the problem.

“Violence in communities is often based on conditions of our communities and lack of opportunity."

To make her call for peace and to outline her peace plan, Councilmember Montgomery is hosting a peace movement called “Let’s Live, Let’s Love.”

The event is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. next Monday at the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library.

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