I am both outraged and saddened by the senseless shooting death of two young boys in our community this past weekend. My deepest sympathy lies with the family of the victims of this horrible crime. Since Saturday morning, there has been an outpouring of emotions that have been shared with us from our residents and the City has taken every opportunity it can to listen, provide answers and talk next steps. Important to this process has been myself and the City Council, City Commissioners and City employees (many of whom live in Union City) who have made themselves available around the clock to provide support to the community during this challenging time.
It is vitally important that the community is provided the space and time to heal from this tragedy, as the Union City Police Department works to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. We do not want to accept any crime of this gravity in our community, but it is particularly appalling that it took place at one of our schools – Searles Elementary School. Schools, just like churches, are sacred places and our kids deserve these spaces to be free of crime and violence.
The City Council and I are committed to reinforcing the safety of our community by ensuring that Police and Youth and Family Services have the resources they need to maintain public safety, carry out an investigation, continue to serve those who are in need of grieving support and provide help to at-risk youth in our community. We are also working in concert with the New Haven Unified School District to make sure that our students have a safe place to attend school. We thank Superintendent Thompson for being proactive about addressing this situation with parents of the School District.
I would like to recognize the swift actions and hard work of the Union City Police Department to respond to this incident and begin a comprehensive investigation that will attempt to understand why this terrible crime occurred and identify the party or parties that are responsible for it. The Union City Police Department has also increased neighborhood patrols in the area of the shooting, particularly, during recently planned vigils, to ensure the safety of the community during this time of grieving. A vigil has been set-up by members of the community near the site of the crime as a place for people to pay respect for the two young boys. We encourage the community to do this safely and without loitering in the area after-hours.
I also would like to thank the dedicated team of counselors and street outreach workers from Youth and Family Services. They have provided grief counseling and support services to community members impacted by this tragedy. In addition to the crisis response provided by Youth and Family Services, we recognize the critical work they do daily to prevent youth violence and provide intervention services to at-risk youth so that more crimes, like this, do not occur in our community. You can contact Youth and Family services at 510.675.5817 to connect yourself, loved ones or people you know to their services.
Youth and Family Services is partnering with the New Haven Unified School District's Union City Family Center to open a “healing space” for community members grieving this tragedy. This “healing space” will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Union City Family Center located at 725 Whipple Road. Light refreshments will be available, and attendees can participate in a variety of conversations and activities that will support the community healing process. Please call the Union City Family Center at 510.476.2770 to learn more.
Centro de Servicios is conducting a fundraiser at its corner store located on 6th and H Streets. All proceeds from its sales today and tomorrow will be used to support funeral expenses for the victims of this terrible crime. The public may provide monetary donations by stopping by the store or calling Centro de Servicios directly at 510.489.4100. It is my understanding that the family of the victims prefer that monetary donations to help support the funeral expenses of the two young boys are given to Centro de Servicios, rather than any of the Go Fund Me accounts that has been set up.
Lastly, I want to thank all of the members of this community that have stepped up to help unify the community around this issue. While we do not know why this crime occurred, please understand that the City Council and I will continue to monitor the situation and will report back to the community once we know more.
occur in our community. You can contact Youth and Family services at 510.675.5817 to connect yourself, loved ones or people you know to their services.