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Monrovia rallies against gang violence

January 31, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A local community is coming together, trying to deal with a string of racially charged gang killings. Thursday in Monrovia a multi-ethnic coalition gathered to seek answers.Thursday, the city of Monrovia was filled with town hall meetings, rallies, community leaders, residents and authorities all coming together to say, "Enough is enough."

Thursday, members of the Monrovia community joined Monrovia Mayor Rob Hammond and civil-rights activists to rally for an end to the bloody feud between black and Hispanic gangs.

They gathered near the spot where 19-year-old Brandon Lee was shot to death two nights ago by alleged Hispanic gang members.

Lee's father was on hand, along with the mother of 16-year-old Samantha Salas, who detectives say was killed by gun-toting black gang members Saturday night.

The parents argue innocent victims are the ones paying the price for a deadly feud that's gotten out of control.

"She was just a beautiful little girl," said Janette Chavez, Samantha Salas's mother. "She didn't have to die. She was ready to go to college, she was getting prepared for it. She was just a wonderful kid."

"You're killing innocent victims," said Willie Lee, Brandon Lee's father. "You're shooting at someone and you're killing someone else. Just stop. Stop."

"The city of Monrovia is dedicated to bringing an end to this violence," said Monrovia Mayor Rob Hammond. "That's why we're here."

The apparently racially charged gang war has claimed three lives in January, and left a 16-year-old boy paralyzed, and another teen injured.

Police, Sheriff's and city officials held a news conference Thursday morning to quell the fears of terrified residents.

"We have never seen anything quite like this with the bringing together of law enforcement resources in this community," said Capt. Richard Shaw, L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. "And we will make this issue die."

"They're instilling fear in all the kids in town," said Monrovia parent Frank Cgonc. "I find it really hard when my fifth-grader has to ask me if he has to quit being friends with his friends because he might get shot."

"And those friends are Hispanic and black?"

"Yes," replied Cgonc.

Authorities say the gangs in this community need to take notice: Their time is up.

 

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