Vallejo police on Friday were stepping up efforts to control a surge in gang violence over the past few months in the wake of a recent shooting that claimed an innocent victim.
18-year-old Brandon Chandler was shot to death on Sunday, just feet from the front door of his apartment on Santa Clara Avenue.
Investigators tell KTVU gang members appear to be responsible for the shooting, but they don’t believe chandler was in a gang.
“There's no reason for this. He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said the victim’s tearful mother Jessica Garrett. “I don't understand why this is happening. I don't know why our family is going through this.”
Since June, police say there have been 14 gang related shootings in Vallejo, most done in retaliation.
Dealing with this uptick in violence is difficult for a department hit hard by budget cuts. There are just 83 police officers in Vallejo, down from 153 back in 2008.
On top of that, the department’s gang unit had to be eliminated due to cuts.
“It's a perfect storm for us to have the inability to have the intelligence sometimes and the resources to enforce on a daily basis,” said Vallejo Police Sgt. Joe Iacono.
Despite an officer shortage, the department plans to focus more on gang activity by having some officers work overtime.
No arrests have been in Chandler’s murder, the 16th of the year so far in Vallejo.
“Whoever they are, I hope they get caught, ‘cause this is not right. I am losing my son because of somebody's stupidity” said Garrett.
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