Two groups of gang members—one north, one south—took part in a Ceasefire call-in this afternoon in Salinas and were urged by victims of violence and law enforcement officials to stop shooting people.
Thirty four gang members took part in the program, says Brian Contreras, director of gang intervention group Second Chance. Two speakers were especially moving: "One was a mother who lost her son to gang violence," Contreras says. "Her son had gotten killed. His cousin couldn't handle it and ended up committing suicide. I don't think they've ever heard that message."
A CALSTAR nurse that attends to shooting victims flown to trauma centers also spoke about a 14-year-old boy kid, who lost feeling in his lower body after he was shot in the neck, Contreras says. Participants were also offered help finding a job, getting an education and leaving the gang life behind.
This was the second call-in in Salinas, which hampered by 29 homicides last year and an overburdened police force is hoping to see a drop in shootings. The Ceasefire strategy offers gang members opportunities or heavy enforcement if they continue to cause violence.