STOCKTON (CBS13) – Neighbors in a south Stockton neighborhood say enough is enough after two young people were gunned down less than five months of each other in a shopping center.
The demonstrators have been showing up outside the Food 4 Less parking lot in Weston Ranch to promote peace.
The woman organizing these peaceful protests is a long-time resident of Weston Ranch who said the most recent deadly shooting hit very close to home.
It’s a small, but powerful movement Aakielah Johnson said is growing.
“I’m here for the actual Weston Ranch community, you know. Everyone’s safety matters to me, and I feel like everyone’s safety should matter to them too,” said Johnson.
Johnson has been using signs to promote peace ever since Weston Ranch was rocked by gun violence.
In April, an 18-year-old man was gunned down in the Food 4 Less parking lot. Only five months later, Johnson’s friend, who was only 21-years-old was also shot. It’s the same location where she and others now stand to raise awareness.
“I’m asking maybe the police can be in community more,” she said.
Each sign is different, but the message demonstrators say will always be the same.
“This is my community and I want to stand for it,” said Stamam Singh who lives in Weston Ranch.
Singh has lived in Weston Ranch for the last 17 years. He, like many want police to beef up patrol in the community. Singh says he just wants to walk and shop in his own neighborhood without the fear of getting shot.
“We have young, we have old, we have woman and children here and a stray bullet can hit anybody,” he said.
The group hopes its message of unity will spread and so will the understanding that gun violence is not welcome in Weston Ranch.
“Everybody wants to be one voice, and that is what I believe in, you know. We cannot stop or fight anything at a personal level. It has to be the whole community,” he said.
The organizer has set up several events just within the last few days. She plans to continue raising awareness until she feels safe again.