Whether or not the acts of violence against Jose and Melanie were gang related still remains unclear. Stockton city leaders said they want to stop the violence, and that starts in the same neighborhoods where violence is often the norm.
Stockton community members said it takes more than politics and decided to pray in Victory Park against the violence. Tashante McCoy-Ham, one of the leaders of group, said they are praying for light to shine in the darkness and for violence to stop.
"We are raising awareness and amplifying the voices of survivors of violent crimes," McCoy-Ham said.
She said the most recent homicides in the city have hit the community hard.
"I sat at the funeral of Melanie Martinez and it was tragic to look at a casket so small, and to know why she was there," McCoy-Ham said.
What is the answer to the violence? McCoy-Ham said the Hood needs to heal the hood.
"Political gang banging blurs our vision of the reality, of what is going on, it becomes real selfish and nothing gets done," McCoy-Ham said.
Forty-one homicides for Stockton this year, according to Mayor Anthony Silvia.
"It’s time to get tough, it’s time to put the surveys back on the shelves because they aren't working," Silva said.
The Mayor is calling for war on violence calling it, "Operation Justice for Melanie". He told us if he is reelected he will curb gang violence starting with law enforcement-neighborhood relations.
"We need community policing where the officers look like the community and respect the community and the community respects them," Silva said.
He also added that he would like to add more surveillance cameras throughout the city in hopes to catch people committing violent crimes. Since Silva has been in office homicides are down, with 2012 ending in 71 homicides. His opponent Michael Tubbs said Stockton can do better.
"It’s not about reinventing the wheel it’s about saying this is the strategy were doing and this is what we have to do collectively," Tubbs said.
The councilman said he thinks emulating the actions Oakland and Richmond have taken in curbing violence will help Stockton. He also has a plan focusing on combating gang violence using community based outreach and law enforcement.
"I would make sure when we go through these hot zone areas we don't just go with police officers but we go with support and resources support and opportunities for folks," Tubbs said.