SAN DIEGO — Clairemont families gathered Sunday to demand more action from the city after two shootings at the North Clairemont Recreation Center that occurred just months after each other.
The first shooting, which left a 22-year-old man dead, occurred just before noon on a Sunday in February – prime time for families to take their children to the park near the recreation center. A 19-year-old man and an underage boy were later arrested in connection with the shooting.
Nine months later, on October 24, a 14-year-old boy was shot in the leg by another youth near the recreation center. San Diego Police detectives are still investigating the incident.
“Children shooting children is unacceptable and we must stand as a community,” rally organizer Michael Pallamary told FOX 5 on Sunday. Pallamary has lived in the Clairemont neighborhood for more than 40 years.
“It’s a beautiful park – we’re in the heart of Clairemont,” he continued. “Why is this a danger zone now?”
After the shooting in February, Pallamary also organized a rally at the park to call on the city to intervene and make the park safer for the community. He suggested installing cameras in surrounding areas near the community center, among other security measures.
“I personally offered to buy the cameras and donate them anonymously to the city,” he said, “but the city refused everything. They just gave us 101 reasons why something can’t happen.”
Now, two weeks after another incident at the park, Pallamary and other residents are frustrated by what they see as inaction by San Diego city officials.
“City Hall, our elected officials must take responsibility for this latest shooting,” Pallamary said. “We spent a lot of time on some very good suggestions. If these suggestions had been implemented, it is very likely that we could have saved a child from being shot.”
Pallamary said San Diego police responded to residents’ requests to increase officer presence at the North Clairemont Recreation Center. However, community members still feel that feeling safe in the park with their families is not enough.
“If you’re a parent or grandparent and your child was innocently murdered in the middle of a spectacular public park, that’s why your tax dollars are being used for this,” Pallamary said. “We don’t have enough money to protect our children?”
FOX 5’s Danielle Dawson contributed to this report.
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