Long Beach community rallies for peace following recent fatal shooting
Dozens of Long Beach residents held a rally Tuesday to call for an end to gun violence following a fatal shooting earlier this month.
The march for peace made its way through what is known as the North Park neighborhood - a community on the bay side of the city near the train station. That is where a 33-year-old man was shot and killed on April 7.
Neighbors and local leaders say guns have become too common in the neighborhood and the recent violence needs to serve as a wakeup call.
"What as a community, what are we doing to pour into the community?" said Ronald McHenry, of the North Park Civic Association. "There are no mental health services. There are lots of people without jobs. But it's ironic that people can get their hands on a gun a lot sooner than they can get their hands on employment opportunities."
Eleven-year-old Loren Lollis marched alongside her parents, saying gun violence is preventing her from being a kid.
"It's really troubling because I can't focus on my schoolwork at night," Lollis says. "I'm also scared because I'm not sure if I'll get shot up."
Her mother says police need to do more to help the community.
"They come out when there's rallies and things like this," says Cathlena Lollis. "They come for a photo-op or to act like they're with the community, but they're not really with the community."
Police Commissioner and Acting City Manager Ronald Walsh marched alongside the demonstrators. He says the police department is trying to form relationships in the North Park part of the neighborhood but acknowledges more work has to be done.
"We walk in there every single day - 12, 15 times a day, thousands of times a year," Walsh says. "We have to work harder as a police department to get closer to our community to build more of that trust."
Police are still searching for the person responsible for the fatal shooting that happened on Long Beach. A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered to anyone with information that leads to an arrest.
Anyone with information can call Nassau CrimeStoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All calls remain anonymous, and the reward can also remain anonymous.