By Motecuzoma Sanchez and Frank Gayaldo
August 28, 2017
Stockton, CA – Last Thursday there were three shootings in the Conway area of south Stockton near the Van Buskirk Golf Course/Community Center. Although, judging from the public police reports you would only know about one.
This was the official Watch Commander report put out by Stockton Police last Thursday, August 24th. As you can see there is no mention of any shooting at any park. However, multiple witnesses were at the park or at home across the street when it occurred. In fact about 162 young children were practicing Pop Warner Football at the park at the time in addition to the ones playing on the playground near the community center.
On the Report Thieves-Crime in Stockton Facebook page group members were posting about it right after it happened.
Denise Manning, the former community outreach coordinator for the Office of Violence Prevention who just resigned in another sign of trouble for the office, which after 3 years has shown no results or a decrease in violent crime, even posted about the shooting on social media and the 911 line having no answer.
209 Times reached out to SPD to inquire about the discrepancy. Here is their response:
“At 8:04 pm, we received a call that someone heard shots being fired in the area Van Buskirk Park, but nothing was seen.
At 8:26 pm, a shooting was called in at S. Lever / Georgia. The first unit arrived at 8:29 pm. Multiple units arrived and circulated for a victim while calls were made to the hospital to check for a shooting victim. Officers checking the area contacted several subjects who described being shot at. This Watch Commander entry is a synopsis of that report:
Assault with a Deadly Weapon, 2700 block of Indiana Street, Seaport District
The adult female and male victims were at home when they heard gun fire. Victim 1 came outside to see what was happening. The occupants of the suspect car started shooting at the victim. The victim took cover behind a car and was unharmed. No injuries were reported. SUSPECTS: 2-3 Black males in their twenties driving a silver Mercedes.”
This statement conflicts with what was told to novice high school reporter Gabriel Porras who also reached out to SPD:
209 Times has learned that in fact there was a shooting at Van Buskirk, actually more like a shootout between two different parties. Witnesses at the park say up to 20 shots were fired in rapid succession in full view of everyone while practice was still going on. Then there was a second shooting several blocks north on Georgia Street as alluded to in SPD’s statement to 209 Times. Then almost a half hour after that there was a third shooting on Indiana Street much further away, which was the only one reported by SPD to the public.
Judging by their own statement it appears that SPD did not intially investigate the shooting at the park which witnesses believe led to the second and third. This fact is corroborated by multiple witnesses who kept calling police to the park saying there was no police response after nearly a half hour even though the police station is only ten minutes away for normal traffic without a siren.
One of these concerned parents even took it upon herself to call Stockton City Manager Kurt Wilson while she remained on the ground after getting a negative response from the 911 dispatcher:
What this text reveals is that there was no response to the park for families or teams until an hour and a half later. And that the City Manager, who is not from Stockton and lives in Sacramento, does not know the difference between being in the Community Center with locked doors or out in the open park with 162 children plus parents and coaches.
209 Times has confirmed that the number texted does in fact belong to Kurt Wilson.
The park is located in south Stockton where Mayor Michael Tubbs wants to close the golf course to cut costs. It’s also in the zone that both Tubbs and Councilmember Jesus Andrade are taking credit for “reinventing” and ironically where Tubbs announced his run for Council in 2012. Also ironic is the fact that two of the football coaches are “Peacekeepers” for the Office of Violence Prevention who were left powerless.
While hosting a “press conference” concerning Stockton parks just two days prior Mayor Tubbs, Councilmember Andrade, or Assemblymember Eggman have yet to make any statement condemning the violence or even mentioning it.
Meanwhile this is the daily condition of the playground for the youngest of children in district 6 where they all represent.
Despite this harsh reality one of the coaches for the south side Vikings Coach Irving says in the toughened and optimistic mentality indicative of surviving in Stockton says, ” we’re gonna move past this. We talked to the kids and showed them this is what happens when people have no guidance or direction. We don’t even let them bring it up anymore”. Using it as a lesson to teach about life in their community and reinforcing the importance of being successful through something positive like sports, he also reports that SPD will be present during future practices as demanded by parents. Another coach who wished to remain anonymous says this is the 3rd year in a row there’s been a shooting during practice and was more concerned that they’d have to move to another park that would charge more to practice.
What’re the chances it’s solved or doesn’t lead to more violence as a result of not being addressed? What other crimes aren’t SPD reporting?
It’s in south Stockton and it’s as if it never happened.