A group of activists gathered in Southcrest on Friday afternoon (July 29), site of a shooting that left one San Diego police officer dead and another wounded on Thursday night during a traffic stop. The group held a vigil in honor of slain officer Jonathan "J.D." Guzman and his partner Wade Irwin, who is expected to survive.
Though the motivation for the killing is still unclear, police have arrested two suspects: 52-year-old Jesse Gomez and 41-year-old Marcus Antonio Cassani.
"We don't know what the results of the investigation will find, but what we do know is that there's tension in our community between residents and police," said Shane Harris, president of the local National Action Network chapter. "That's why there are many not standing here with me today, because they don't feel that we should stand with police.
"Everyone in San Diego has been blinded by the palm trees and the beach. They believe that this city is superior to a Baltimore, a Miami, a Charleston. But we have the same issues here."
Harris called for a series of community forums to begin to address the "grave need" to bridge the animosity gap between police and residents in lower-income neighborhoods across the city. He also advocated for solutions including encouraging more officers to move into local neighborhoods and be assigned to patrols there.
"We should bring back community policing. Police used to live in the communities they were serving, they were a part of those communities. Now, you don't have very many police who can say they know and understand what's going on in the community."
As the vigil continued, a wreath was placed at the corner of 35th Street and Boston Avenue, near the site of the shooting. Demonstrators, slowly growing in numbers as the afternoon wore on, chanted slogans calling for peace and, notably, co-opting the "all lives matter" mantra that's sprung up as a foil to the "Black Lives Matter" movement.