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EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. - Disturbing video of children fleeing playground equipment as bullets rang out a deadly East Palo Alto shooting surfaced Wednesday, horrifying community members.
Ralph Fields Jr. was shot Tuesday evening in Jack Farrell Park on Fordham Street, East Palo Alto police said. Fields, who died en route to a hospital, was the cousin of Adams, a star player who recently joined the Raiders.
Police said that the shooting appeared to be targeted and involved two groups of people shooting at each other. There were 33 gunshots fired. Police did not say if Fields was one of the shooters. ShotSpotter recordings indicate there were three volleys between the groups.
The community was shaken up after the broad daylight shooting.
East Palo Alto interim chief Jeff Liu.
"This was not a random act," said Interim Police Chief Jeff Liu. "Shooting and violence, especially at our parks with kids playing is completely unacceptable. We need to come together as a community and send a message that this type of activity will not be tolerated."
Although the park was crowded, Liu said, police have not spoken to many witnesses. No arrests have been made.
Video shared with KTVU from a viewer shows panicked moments of children fleeing from playground equipment just after gunshots rang out. The children's reactions can be heard and you can make out the shadow of someone running away.
"There is a street code that's out there. We don't condone any type of violence, but you even broke the street code, by shooting where kids were," said Pastor Paul Bains, Founder & President of WeHope, at Wednesday's news conference.
Baines has spoken to Fields’ family and they’re devastated about his death. He says now they’re just hoping police will find justice for the family and the entire community.
"We have to come together and fight this cycle of violence that plagues marginalized communities," Baines said.
Bains has been serving the East Palo Alto community for decades and says, although this is the first shooting death in the community this year, that it's one death too many.
This was the first homicide of the year in East Palo Alto. The city has seen a remarkable reduction in violence since the 1990s. East Palo Alto had 43 homicides in 1992.
"If you see something, say something. Otherwise, this is going to happen again because retaliation is what ignorant, stupid minds want to do. We’re not going to tolerate this," Baines said.
Police said they have stepped up patrols in the area to prevent potential retaliatory shootings.
Records show Fields was arrested in 2014 on a weapons charge.
"What they do not count on, is things like this, bring all of us together. And when we’re all together, there’s a power and a strength in the numbers. So know that it will not be tolerated and we will continue to stand and to do our part in making sure that justice is prevailed," said Pastor Deborah Lewis Virges, Sr. Pastor at St. Mark AME Zion Church.
Community leaders are asking any witnesses to come forward.
East Palo Alto City Council will also hold a special meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. to have a dialogue with the community.