“I’ve been in this business for close to 30 years and I really can’t recall another time, in any recent history, where we’ve had this level of violence,” says Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes.
He says since October two rival gangs in North Palm Springs have unleashed indiscriminate violence on the communities of Santiago Sunrise Village Mobile Home Park and Desert Highland Gateway Estates.
“Close to 90 overall shootings, calls for service, 24 of those are confirmed crime scenes … three murders, one attempted murder where someone got shot in the head that’s still alive and nine other attempted murder cases,” says Reyes.
Reyes says five people were arrested over the weekend in connection with the shootings, “One was a juvenile that had a loaded firearm.”
But he says this is far from over. These neighborhoods have become so dangerous, that people making a wrong turn have become victims, homes are being shot at random and no specific person is targeted.
“And that’s the scary part … shootings are occurring in both parts of our city just for merely being there,” he says but he emphasizes everyone should be concerned because there will be a shooting wherever these rival gangs cross paths, “it’s gotten to the point where it’s so violent just the mere presence of each other is causing shootings so that means it can happen anywhere, it can happen in neighboring cities so people need to be aware of that.”
These communities are living in fear. We tried to speak with several people who live there, they didn’t want to discuss the issue because they are afraid.
“There are a lot of scared people they don’t want to talk to you, they don’t want to talk to the police but ultimately they have to go back and live everyday in those communities and they’re concerned for their safety,” says Reyes adding we must all do everything we can to stop this for the sake of the children, “the impact on the kids, the fear in the kids that they just want to live everyday and just play, play in the park and they can’t do that right now.”
Chief Reyes says many of those involved in the shootings are young teens. He says the community must play a strong role in helping children get involved in positive activities early. He says parents must partner with police and community leaders and all step up to turn this around before more people end up in jail or killed.