SAN DIEGO — Clairemont families rallied on Sunday to demand more action from the city following two shootings at North Clairemont Recreation Center that took place within months of each other.
The first shooting, which left a 22-year-old man dead, happened just before noon on a Sunday in February — peak time for families to take their children to the park near the recreation center. A 19-year-old man and a juvenile boy were later arrested in connection to the shooting.
Nine months later, on Oct. 24, a 14-year-old boy was shot in the leg by another juvenile near the Recreation Center. San Diego police gang detectives are still investigating the incident.
“Children shooting children is unacceptable and we need to stand up as a community,” rally organizer, Michael Pallamary, said to FOX 5 Sunday. Pallamary has lived in the Clairemont neighborhood for more than 40 years.
“It’s a beautiful park — we’re in the heart of Clairemont,” he continued. “Why is this now a danger zone?”
After the February shooting, Pallamary also organized a rally in the park to call on the city to step in to make the park safer for the community. He suggested adding cameras to surrounding areas near the community center, among other safety measures.
“I personally offered to buy the cameras for the city to donate them anonymously,” he said, “but the city refused everything. All they did was give us a 101 reasons why things can’t happen.”
Now, two weeks after another incident in the park, Pallamary and other residents are frustrated over what they say is inaction by San Diego city officials.
“City hall, our elected officials have to take responsibility for this last shooting,” said Pallamary. “We spent a lot of time with some very good suggestion. There’s a high probability if those suggestions were implemented, we could have saved a child from being shot.”
San Diego police did respond to residents’ request to increase officer presence at the North Clairemont Recreation Center, according to Pallamary. Although, community members still feel like its not enough for them to feel safe with their families at the park.
“If you’re a parent or grandparent, if your child was innocently murdered in the middle of a spectacular public park, is that were your tax dollars are going for.” Pallamary said. “We don’t have enough money to protect our children?”
FOX 5’s Danielle Dawson contributed to this report.