BAKERSFIELD< CALIF., (KERO) — This past weekend the Bakersfield community experienced a string of violent events that turned deadly killing a mother of four. Now community leaders and law enforcement are calling for residents to help them make a change.
Several acts of violence took place on Saturday at three different locations. Thursday, several organizations were celebrating the ending of Black History Month. Local leaders who were in attendance told 23ABC that once those scheduled events ended and night fell multiple shootings occurred. Now local leaders and the Bakersfield police department are calling on the community to help them stop this violence.
"If God gives me the strength and he gives me the face. I will do everything that I could possibly do to make a change," said Xenia King, president of Mothers Against Gang Violence.
Xenia King the president of Mothers Against Gang Violence, you may have seen her throughout Kern County pushing and calling for an end to violence in the community. She was one of many celebrating Black History Month on MLK Park on Saturday, but just 30 mins after she left, a shooting took place.
"It's just sad but for me, that sadness is turning into strength," said King.
According to the Bakersfield Police department, two shootings occurred at Wayside Park and MLK Park, the Wayside park shooting took place just after 6:30 pm — ShaNerva Riley died as a result and several others were injured, According to BPD more than 100 rounds from the scene, and not too long after the shooting multiple fights occurred.
"I am not going to confirm if they are all related you can make your own inferences, they are two hours apart. In two different parts of town, "said Sgt. Robert Pair, BPD.
BPD is asking any witnesses to come forward — and for the community to step up.
"This is not just a police problem. Police alone cannot solve this, we are capable of finding those who do this and holding them accountable in the court of law, using legal means. But this problem will not stop until the community of Bakersfield demands that it does." said Pair.
Sgt. Robert pair with BPD says after that violent 2020, with 87 shootings in January early this year, community leaders like king want to see more resources put into places like the park.
"Lighting security cameras, everything all of these things need to be put in place, because we're talking about the safety of our children, and they should be able to go to the park to go to the mall to go to the store without their customers, running for their life."
"If the citizens of Bakersfield want security cameras on, in every city park, that's not for the police department to decide, that's for, you know, different folks to determine. But ultimately, you know it's crimes of violence like this are difficult to predict the when, and the where," added Pair.
This trend of violence — that NAACP president of the Bakersfield chapter Patrick Jackson calls it says — can be prevented if there is a collective effort.
"It takes 6-8 Pallbearers to carry a person to a grave. And so it shouldn't take 6-8 people to pull that person out of that life, that they're living. And so if we really care. All the people that show up to families and Homegoing that these individuals were at the core of the individual that's at the end of the shooting or receiving the shooting. We should care about them enough to get them out," said Patrick Jackson, president of the NAACP chapter in Bakersfield.
Not anymore. King says these vigils like the one held for Riley need to serve as a wake-up call for more people to get involved.
"We have to hold each other. that's another thing that we can show our people, unity and starting with ourselves," said King.
Again there's currently no suspect information but the Bakersfield Police Department is asking anyone with any information to please come forward.