Teen's fatal shooting prompts Anaheim community to work to take back neighborhood, demand justices

Jessica De Nova Image
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Teen's fatal shooting prompts OC community to unite, demand justice
Residents of an Anaheim community are working to take back their neighborhood in the aftermath of a shooting that left a 17-year-old boy dead.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- In the month after an Anaheim teen was shot and killed outside his home, his community and family came together to take back their neighborhood and demand justice.

The pain in this mother's cry was palpable.

In an interview with Eyewitness News on Monday, Leticia Reynaga said in Spanish that she doesn't understand why they killed her son. She said her boy was so good.

It's been just more than a month since Anaheim police said 17-year-old Juan Reynaga was shot right outside his home.

The Reynaga family set up a GoFundMe page for anyone wanting to help them with the costs associated with their loss.

Officers said the teen had no gang affiliation, but those behind the shooting do.

As police continued their search for the suspects Monday, this community increased its efforts to take back their neighborhood and the City of Anaheim was responding.

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The city's director of communications, Mike Lyster, said work on improved lighting for increased visibility on Acacia Street, from La Palma Ave to the 91 fwy, began this past weekend. Completion was expected in early September. This is the area where police said Reynaga was shot and killed last month. Lyster said Monday, work on new LED lights at nearby Edison Park was schedule to start in a few weeks.

"Naturally, something like that is going to bring a community together to try and better a neighborhood and we are definitely seeing that here. So the park cleanup, new street lights that we are putting in in the area-those are just a couple of the things that we are doing, working with the community," Lyster said.

Helping clean up this community's main green space Monday were members of the nonprofit Love Anaheim, including Richard Morales.

The organization helps the unhoused turn their lives around.

"It's responsibility, you know, it turned my life around, responsibility, gave me something to do," Morales said.

Joining the group Monday were several local mothers, including Gloria Aguilar.

Early mornings, they gathered at Edison Park for Zumba. In the evenings, they went to city meetings to ask for improved lighting, stop signs, speed bumps, surveillance cameras and help reducing trash, homeless encampments and gang activity in the area.

Aguilar told Eyewitness News in Spanish that she couldn't imagine her neighbor's pain. The tragedy was further uniting families here.

Aguilar said she hoped they reach their goals for the good of their children.

Juan Reynaga's mother said part of that was justice-putting those who took her son's life behind bars.

Park cleanups were opened to the public and scheduled for Monday, Aug. 22 and Monday, Aug. 29 at Edison Park, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.