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3 teens, 1 young adult the target of 2 Stockton overnight shootings: What is being done to stop youth violence?

Stockton riled by shootings that left 2 dead in 1 night
Stockton riled by shootings that left 2 dead in 1 night 03:04

STOCKTON -- Thursday marked a violent night in Stockton with teenagers the victims of two different shootings, one of them deadly.

They happened just 6 miles from each other, but according to Stockton Police do not seem related at this time. 

The first, a double homicide around 9 p.m. on Tiffany Street, near Van Buren Elementary School. 

Three male victims were found shot on scene; a 17-year-old died at the hospital, a 19-year-old survived and a 20-year-old died on scene.

Just three hours later, another overnight shooting. The victim was a 13-year-old, shot in the foot as bullets flew when police say a house party on Ishi Goto Street turned violent. The teen survives, a house and nearby car were also hit by bullets. 

Stockton Police do not have a suspect in either of the two shootings, so CBS13 does not yet know the ages of those who pulled the trigger and whether these were targeted or random crimes.  

"It is heartbreaking. My first reaction is disappointment. Discouragement. Not again," said community advocate Toni McNeil. 

She organizes for groups like "Concrete Developments" and "Faith in the Valley" in Stockton, focusing on violence intervention, prevention and disruption. 

"If we focused on our children consistently for ten years we would heal a generation," said McNeil. 

With boots on the ground in the fight of trying to loosen the grip gun violence has on the city, she says healing Stockton starts with its young people.

Especially so when four are shot in one night.

"The school to prison pipeline? That sets the narrative. We need to change the narrative for our children," said McNeil. 

Stockton's Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) has programs in place now that director Lora Larson says are making a difference, but it takes time for the seeds planted to grow fruitful. 

"Stockton is very rich with resources and unfortunately the challenge is people don't know how to go and get them," said Larson. 

That's why "peacekeepers" in the OVP office respond too to every 911 call for gun or gang violence.

"To offer them resources to help them make different choices within their life," said Larson. "We are looking into every week the drivers of shootings that take place."

McNeil says there is no time to waste and too long has procrastination caused the Stockton community to drag its feet when it comes to stopping gun violence in its tracks. 

"Right now we need to execute. Something has to happen. Our kids are on fire and the time is now. We don't have time to waste," said McNeil. 

She says everyone needs to come together and do what they can; collaboration is key as one person and one agency cannot do it all. 

"Our youth, they need resources but first they need to be disrupted and know they are loved, seen, that they are valued, that they are important, that they are heard," said McNeil. 

Larson agrees. Peacekeepers on her staff not only respond to calls but often work with at-risk youth, identified by their schools, who need one-on-one attention from a mentor who can help be a positive voice in their life. 

They go on fun group outings and help connect these kids to resources and opportunities they may not know exist. 

McNeil says programming for Stockton youth like healing circles at the Amelia Ann Adams Whole Life Center, the Stockton poet laureate playground slam and the safe summer in the park series with free resources.

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