Sacramento leaders send message: 'Stop the Violence'

Community leaders take another stand against gun violence.

Sadly, gun violence is a recurring theme in our community.

On Thursday evening, leaders -- pastors, elected officials, police and heads of youth organizations -- gathered to speak against it.

They held a media conference at South Sacramento's Meadowview Park, where 49-year-old Ernie Cadena was shot and killed on Sunday afternoon.

RELATED: 1 dead, 4 injured after shooting at South Sacramento park

"When a child is able to get a gun before they're able to get an opportunity or a job, that is a problem," Voice of the Youth CEO Berry Accius told the crowd.

Others urged people to continue using public parks.

"Crime doesn't like an audience," Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told ABC10 News. "If somebody's going to commit a crime, whether it's violent crime or just property crime, things like that - they don't want to do it where there's eyes on them. They don't want to do is where there's a bunch of people around...We need to not lose our parks to the people that want to destroy our neighborhoods."

In the crowd Thursday was the victim's daughter, 10-year-old Aliseah Cadena.

"I would recommend coming with parents and not to be afraid sometimes because not all the time bad people are out here to come shoot or hurt people," she told ABC10 News.

Rebecca Person brought her sons to the park on Thursday to listen to the speakers and show that her family is not afraid to be out and about.

"We need to make changes in our community, our kids. Education is the only way that we can make changes, and I've instilled that in my children," she said, wiping a tear from her cheek. "It's very important, I feel like, in a community - especially communities that look like ours, that we keep our children busy."

Sunday's violence was literally close to home; she lives a couple of blocks away.

Kids can fall into the wrong crowd, Person said, or be surrounded by good people working to keep kids off the streets.

Two of her sons, 11-year-old Keith and 13-year-old Tyson, were playing basketball at the park with 26-year-old Marcus Turner, who works for Crossover Basketball. That's a youth organization that organizes leagues for kids of all ages, especially in the evenings, in South Sacramento, Oak Park and Del Paso Heights, which community leaders say are areas that see recurring gun violence.

"If they ain't doing nothing, they might get into something," Turner said. "We need a lot of that fun, safe environments for them to play. Like, if not, they're going to be cooped up inside and think of something else to do, which they maybe shouldn't be doing."

His father, Omar Turner, founded Crossover Basketball. The two of them were at Thursday's media conference.

"One thing I love is just how, like, all the different areas in Sacramento are coming together, from the church to community centers to policemen out here," Marcus Turner said. "That's a real good thing."

"We can't rely solely on the police department," Chief Hahn told ABC10. "We can't rely solely on the schools, we can't rely solely on a pastor or a community leader. It's all of us together because it's a very complicated issue how kids get into this lifestyle, and we need to have a comprehensive answer so they steer away from that."

He encouraged people to participate in either of two peace marches happening on Friday evening. One starts at 6 p.m. in Oak Park, at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church at 3996 14th Avenue. The other is in South Sacramento, starting at 7 p.m. at 24th Street and Meadowview Road.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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