San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said today he is working on strategies to reduce violence in the city’s Bayview District after two teens died in the neighborhood last weekend.
Montreal Blakely, 17, died in a shooting on the first block of Osceola Lane at about 10 p.m. Saturday while Jaynice Johnson, 16, was found around 12:45 p.m. Sunday on the sidewalk near Quesada Avenue and Jennings Street and died later at San Francisco General Hospital.
No arrests have been made in the shooting of Blakely while Johnson’s mother, 46-year-old Heidi Heidelberg, was arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment but had her case discharged by the district attorney’s office pending further investigation.
“This past week was horrible,” Lee said.
The mayor said he was meeting today with members of the city’s interfaith community and other local leaders to discuss ways to reduce the recent uptick of violence. Police said there have been 67 homicides so far in 2012 compared to 50 at the same date last year.
Lee earlier this year introduced an Interrupt, Predict, Organize (IPO) strategy for violence reduction via the increased use of crime data and community organization and said today he was interested in using other tactics, such as keeping libraries open later or creating other safe places for youth to gather.
Lee especially lamented the death of Blakely, a popular student and football player at Concord High School in the East Bay who was in the city visiting friends.
“What’s he doing out there at 10 o’clock at night on a street corner that everybody knows is dangerous?” he said.
“We need to make those areas safer, but we need to also find alternatives for youth rather than stand on the corner and be a part of this horrible data that we’re seeing in the increase of crime,” he said.
Lee said despite murder rates also rising in neighboring big cities like Oakland and San Jose, “I’m not satisfied by simply accepting the fact that everybody’s homicides are up.”
He said, “Every life is valuable,” and added that the recent deaths are “examples of what we could prevent.”
Vigils for Blakely and Johnson are scheduled for Thursday morning at the sites where they were found last weekend and are being organized by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which has recently begun honoring the city’s homicide victims with the sidewalk prayer services.
Blakely’s service is scheduled for 10 a.m. on the first block of Osceola Lane while Johnson’s is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. near Quesada Avenue and Jennings Street.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News
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