by Remigia (Remy) Bermúdez
According to witnesses, passers-by and police officers, at approximately 5:30pm on Monday (October 1st) an altercation that started in Logan Heights at 22nd Street and the southern side of Imperial Avenue resulted on a man stumbling down at the corner of 22nd and L Streets in Sherman Heights bleeding from repeated stab wounds. According to a SDPD press release, sent to this San Diego Free Press’s (SDFP) contributing writer, the man died en route to the hospital. Homicide detective Lt. Duran added, “The deceased victim has been identified, but his name will be withheld until his family can be notified.”
It was like a scene from a movie, as the SDPD corded off the area with yellow plastic tape, topping fences of surrounding properties in the eastern and western sides was 22nd Street from L Street heading southerly through what appeared to be Commercial Avenue. The area remained cordoned off from around 6pm Monday evening through Tuesday’s morning hours of October 2nd to protect evidence from being disturbed, according to SDPD officers.
The first media on the scene was the San Diego Free Press, as this contributing writer lives nearby. The paramedics, who took approximately 20 minutes to arrive according to witnesses at the scene, appeared to be befuddled as they seemed to take an excessively long time getting the victim into the ambulance, presumably because they were also trying to deal with the multiple bloody stab wounds.
Later, upon hearing from police that the stabbing victim died en route to the hospital, witnesses and community residents expressed their concerns regarding the paramedic’s response time, “Twenty minutes to get here was too slow, too lengthy to save a life.”
A witness lamented, “What is happening to our community?! What kind of people have the cold heartedness to repeatedly stab a person in bright daylight and in front of our children?!” Another witness chimed in, “Are we supposed to just stand by and be victimized, all over again?” The latter recalled a 2005 (2006?) random gang shooting at 22nd and L Streets which landed an innocent 8-year-old girl in the hospital with a lodged bullet in her body. Fortunately, she survived the wound. The trauma, obviously, is still there, based on the comments made tonight by the residents.
Other residents followed with, “The recent influx of suspicious-looking strangers walking our streets makes our past achievements for naught. We worked for many years to get rid of the drug dealings, shootings and prostitution. We cannot have it (our community) revert to the living conditions from years ago.”
SDPD Homicide Unit’s Lt. Duran stated that another man was injured on the October 1st altercation and that another couple is being questioned. When asked if the weapon had been recovered, he said, “No, but his bloodied shirt is on the street. The paramedics had to remove most of his clothing to take care of the multiple wounds.” Via the SDPD press release, Lt. Duran requests, “Detectives and forensic specialists are currently processing the scene for evidence and trying to locate witnesses. Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to call the Homicide Unit at 619 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888 580-8477.”
Sherman Heights residents have expressed concerns that criminal activity has elevated recently due to discontinued police patrols in the area; the lack of, or delayed, police response to the scene of criminal activity when called; and people’s fears of retribution if assailants find out who called the police. Residents complained that the SDPD is quick to respond to loud music complaints, but failed to show up when a crime was reported to 911 a couple of weeks ago.
Residents of the area near 22nd and L Streets are very concerned about criminal activity in their neighborhood.. Two weeks ago, sometime between 7:30 and 8’sh pm, a male adult on the street was punching out a woman half his size while the woman and many other people were screaming. This SDFP contributing writer was on the scene and immediately, called 911. During the lengthy process with the 911 operator, the caller relayed the events, blow by blow: how the man repeatedly hit the female with his closed fist, pulled the female out of the car, slammed her onto the street pavement and dragged her up the street to the approximate length of 3 houses.
The SDPD never showed up, not immediately, not for the rest of the evening, not at all. One would think that response time would be immediate, having the SDPD’s precinct location at 25th and Imperial Avenue(a mere 3 blocks from the scene of the crime). Yet, not one patrol car or police officer showed up at the scene of the crime. This sequence of events was reported reported to the District 8th Council Office and other nearby residents witnessed and corroborated the facts .
Plagued by criminal activity in the 1980’s, residents of Sherman Heights and the San Diego Police Department took the the streets, clearing out the criminal element to make Sherman Heights suitable for safe living and playing environments for the families and the children of the community. However, residents stated that as of approximately 6 months ago, they have noticed what’s perceived to be drug dealing out in the open on L and 22nd Streets and a lot of trafficking of strangers along the same corridor, in between houses and alleys.
That, one would surmise, is to be expected when: “La patrulla en vigilia…/Absence of police….”…Assailants become repeat offenders and residents become repeat victims.
Remigia (Remy) Bermúdez, owner/operator of RemyLinks whose motto is “Responsible Government for Better Communities,” has lived in Sherman Heights since 1989. An avid community advocate, she has 8 years of professional experience in California Redevelopment (in San Diego) and over 20 years of professional experience with federal, state and regional governments and community advocacy. Having earned her Social Science B.A., a master’s in city planning and a BCLAD (Bilingual Ed.) teaching credential from SDSU, she uses all of her expertise to serve communities of the San Diego region.