Recent violence in southwest Fresno is troubling for area residents, especially because so many cases have involved teens. Police investigators continue to search for the suspects behind a shooting near Church and Elm last Thursday that sent two teens to the hospital with injuries. We spoke with residents and community leaders about the violence and the work being done to stop it.
While cases of street violence in southwest Fresno continue to unfold, many of then involving teens. Community leaders say they are determined to help and they’re making progress.
Shooting scenes like this one at Church and Elm last Thursday continue to be a part of the conversation in southwest Fresno.
“It’s happened three times in the last five weeks. We don’t need cable TV. We can watch an episode of cops just standing on the front porch,” said Ronald Pummill who lives near the scene of the Church and Elm shooting.
Pummill has lived in the area for nearly a decade. He heard the shots ring out last week.
“There was at least three weapons used. There was at least 16 to 20 shots and they were all within a matter of 30 to 45 seconds,” said Pummill
Two teens were hit and sent to the hospital. It’s scenes like this Pastor Joby Jones hopes teens will avoid.
“Some stuff is wrong place, wrong time, but the fact that it keeps happening is what bothers me because it’s like c’mon ya’ll we got to do better,” said Jones, a member for the Fresno Street Saints.
Jones and members of the Fresno Street Saints worked with students for six weeks this summer.
“A lot of them said I came here because this keeps me out of trouble. That’s what I realized is they wanted to be here and out of all the kids that came in 23, only two of them didn’t make it to the end. I think that’s pretty good,” said Jones.
City Councilman Oliver Baines shared his story with the young people who came out to Sunset Community Center.
“He made it out and now he’s setting a trail, or a legacy to open up the door for us that we can follow in behind,” said Jones.
Jones says outreach like this is helping to counter a culture of violence.
“I think that’s what we need a lot more of is a lot more love because it’s easy to say I love you. Here is a gun. That ain’t love. That’s the wrong kind of message,” said Jones.
While police continue their crackdown on Fresno area gangs, there are still many opportunities to help reach young people who need support and encouragement.
Here are some links where you can volunteer and assist: