Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Monday, January 22, 2007

Violent Weekend in EPA

As previously written, the new year has started off violent in our community. In the last four weeks we've had four homicides and about 30 shootings, many with casualties. One unique thing about the current wave, there is no real pattern. It's all our major groups fighting amongst themselves for various reasons. We've had feuds between the Tongans and Samoans, African American gangs and Latinos with the eternal feud between the Nortenos and Surenos.

Our Chief of Police, Ron Davis, has been working on all fronts to stem the violence. Last Friday night he called together the community of faith to talk and pray about the violence. Our church hosted the event (I took a rather poor picture with my treo). I was 'Godly proud' of our church for hosting the event. It ended with us praying for the leaders of the youth ministry For Youth By Youth (FYBY) since they are on the front lines with the kids. Many of those who have lost their lives have been loosly associated with FYBY.

Immediately after the meeting I went on a ride along with the police. I felt compelled (as a pastor and chaplain) to be out in the community. It only took minutes before we were screaming up to the scene of a shooting where two young men were shot, one clinging to life.

After church on Sunday I received a frantic phone call from Pastor Bains about a double homicide on the west side of town. Two young boys, 13 and 17 were shot to death. The San Jose Merc reported the incident:
Two teenagers died in a spray of semiautomatic gunfire Sunday afternoon, sparking a hunt for their killers.

The boys, 13 and 17, were hanging out in the carport of an apartment building on Cooley Avenue when two men dressed in hooded black sweatshirts walked toward them.

Witnesses told police the men argued with the boys, raising their voices. One of the men drew a semiautomatic handgun and opened fire. The men then ran north on Scofield Avenue.

'It makes me sick,' said Patricia Foster, East Palo Alto's vice mayor. 'It makes me so sad that our children are killing each other. We are supposed to protect our kids and let them grow up in a safe and healthy environment and we are not doing that.'

Sunday's violence reverberated throughout the city, reigniting tension and fear in a community that has struggled in recent weeks to keep the peace.

Read the article here.

Pastor Bains and I spent the afternoon with the victims families. We had the task of making the death notifications and helping with a victim identification.

So, we're left with the task of figuring out what the Body of Christ should and can do. There are many ideas on the table, prayer walks, fasting, youth summits... It's clear we need to pray and seek God for the peace of the city.

1 comment:

  1. I'll be praying for you and EPA John!

    Hang tight bro!

    Tommy Tryggestad