UPDATED: Mass shooting in park; 3 wounded, 1 dead

East Palo Alto residents including Ravenswood School Board President Mele Latu, far left, gathered May 19 to pray and discuss the fatal shooting at Jack Farrell Park. Post photo by Emily Mibach.



Daily Post Staff Writer 

East Palo Alto residents yesterday (May 19) called on city officials to ensure that city parks remain safe after the shooting at Jack Farrell Park that killed one person and injured three others while children were present. 

One woman, who only identified herself as “JP,” was at the park Tuesday around 6 p.m. when the shooting happened. She spoke at the meeting last night. She and her son are part of the city’s T-ball league, which typically is practicing at that time. However, many parents and children were at MLK Park taking photos and some, such as JP and her son, headed over to Jack Farrell Park to play.

Her son had just gotten some candy out of the car and wasn’t with his mother when shots began, she said. 

“All of a sudden this happened, and I am ducking and dodging, but also looking for my baby. It was a scary mess. There were so many children screaming and crying,” she said. 

JP was reunited with her child after finding him hiding behind a tree. 

Cameras in the park suggested 

Some, such as Bryan Bradshaw, who lives near the park, suggested the city put cameras in the park, while others asked for more police in the park, especially when children are present. 

Diana Herrera lives near the park and said her kids thought the gunshots were fireworks. She suggested that police interact with the city’s children so they’re not just “a stranger with a gun.” 

Although some said the city needs more police, others such as JT Faraji cautioned against increasing patrols, pointing out that residents need to work together and become stronger that way. 

Retaliation concerns 

Many residents and council members at last night’s meeting urged would-be shooters not to retaliate.

Councilman Carlos Romero recalled the shooting death of 3-month old Izack Garcia in 2011 that happened when one gang was retaliating against another. 

Tuesday’s shooting involved two groups of people who fired 33 shots at one another in some sort of dispute, police said.

As to the other three men who were injured during the shooting, two were “stable” at the hospital Wednesday. The other man refused further medical treatment because he was only grazed by a bullet, according to police. Interim Police Chief Jeff Liu told the council and residents yesterday that police have heard from no new witnesses. 


Daily Post Staff Writer 

Children were playing in East Palo Alto’s Jack Farrell Park when two groups of young men opened fire in a deadly barrage that injured three people and killed a fourth, who was identified as Ralph Fields Jr., 34, the cousin of Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, police said yesterday.

As news of the shooting circulated, so did a video of a young girl playing at the park at 2509 Fordham St. when the gunfire erupted Tuesday at around 6 p.m.

In the video, the girl runs away scared, and shortly before the video ends is heard saying “help me.”

The girl was just one of at least 60 people who were at the park, which is typically a gathering space for youth sports, birthday parties, after school hangouts and even a recent visit by Davante Adams himself, who grew up in East Palo Alto.

No children were physically injured as a result of the shooting, said Interim Police Chief Jeff Liu. 

Motive unclear 

Police were uncertain yesterday if Fields and the three others who were shot were targeted and what exactly the motive was. But Liu stressed yesterday at a press conference that the shooting was not random like other attacks, such as the one in Buffalo, N.Y. 

Liu said there were two pairs of people who fired 33 shots at one another in some sort of dispute, but whether it was gang-related is still to be determined. 

Pastor Paul Bains spoke during a press conference with Liu, Mayor Ruben Abrica and other ministers in the city, denouncing Tuesday’s shooting, calling it an “egregious act on the sanctity of life.” 

“We’ve dealt with this before and we will not accept this. You even broke street code, shooting where kids were,” Bains said Bains also urged rival gangs not to retaliate. 

Last night, almost 24 hours after the shooting, community leaders held a vigil to pray and talk about what had occurred. The event was organized by Ravenswood School Board President Mele Latu, who said mental health professionals were sent out to all schools in the Ravenswood District. 

Listening to the children 

Latu said what district officials are hearing is the children who were present when the shooting occurred “need to be listened to.” 

“We need to make sure there is an atmosphere where they can talk about their needs and have people available,” Latu said. 

Latu was joined by Sequoia Union High School District Trustee Shawneece Stevenson, who led one of the prayers said last night during the community gathering. Former Mayor Larry Moody also spoke at the somber event, saying people should still use the park.

“It will be worse if we abandon Jack Farrell Park because of fear,” he said. 

After a handful of speakers held vigil, attendees prayed over the children who were present at the event. As to the other three men who were injured during the shooting, two were “stable” at the hospital yesterday afternoon but Liu did not have the exact details of their injuries. The other man refused further medical treatment after being grazed by a bullet, according to police. 

Liu said his department is upping patrols in the area of the shooting, and is getting extra help from Menlo Park police. 

ORIGINAL REPORT IN THE POST ON MAY 17 AT 8 P.M. — East Palo Alto police tonight are investigating a shooting in Jack Farrell Park in which four people were shot and one died.

It happened at 6:02 p.m. in the park on Fordham Street.

Police say they believe it was a targeted attack and not a random act of violence.

The shooter remains at large.

One victim died in an ambulance on his way to the hospital.

Two more victims went to a nearby firehouse, where they were treated before being taken to the hospital.

A fourth victim was found at his home but he declined treatment.

Pick up tomorrow’s Daily Post for more on this story.