“You develop into what you suppose”; Anti-gang advocates say change should begin at residence to forestall violence in Bakersfield
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – After a week of frustration and heartbreak, no arrests are currently announced for the murder of 32-year-old Shaneva Riley.
Riley, described as a committed mother of four supporting her family, was killed in a shooting on February 27 in Wayside Park. She was there during a memorial to her brother-in-law when someone shot into the crowd of people gathered there. The Bakersfield Police Department doesn’t believe she was an intended target, but she was the only one killed in the incident.
Her family called for justice on Wednesday. The Wendale Davis Foundation organized a prayer vigil attended by Kern County Attorneys, Bakersfield NAACP President Patrick Jackson, and the Mothers Against Gang Violence group.
But even when they asked that someone do the right thing, no suspects were publicly named and no arrests made.
“You would think everyone was upset and anxious to turn in the kind of people who would even think of gunning down an innocent person,” said Wesley Davis Jr., the foundation’s CEO. Davis lost his son Wendale Davis in 2006. Davis was in the car with his girlfriend when a group of men approached him and one shot him in the head.
Davis Jr. believes that violent mindsets – and reluctance to give up the marksman – are the result of too many black teens growing up in poor environments. Broken houses with overwhelmed parents, surrounded by negative influences in real life and in the media, with real consequences for children.
“You are what you eat, you become what you think,” said Davis. “If that’s all I fill up, bad music, bad language, ‘get your gun, shoot this, kill this,’ if that – I’ll wake up and go to sleep, I’ll do that, I believe in that kind of crap , then I adopt that kind of attitude. “
He said he has met many young parents through his work who are unsure of what to do due to their own social situation and his organization is trying to fill the gap but he believes there needs to be more support to protect children’s minds Young age.
Davis said there are others who are trying to help, but he believes there are not enough. His recommendation for civil servants would be to find a way to support the lawyers who work directly with these families, from community organizations to school counselors.
“It doesn’t have to be for me, but people like me. It doesn’t have to be my organization, it has to be organizations like mine, ”said Davis. “We can’t have enough people trying to fill the void and stand in the void. Resources have to be distributed low.”
Anyone with information about the Wayside Park shooting can contact the Bakersfield Police Department at (661) 327-7111 or call the anonymous Kern Secret Witness hotline at (661) 322-4040.