Two shot at anti-gang Summer Night Lights program in Sun Valley
Two young men working for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s anti-gang initiative were shot in Sun Valley during a Summer Night Lights event last week.
The incident marked the first act of such violence against employees of the anti-gang program, officials said.
According to Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Andy Neiman, two men approached a group of people gathered in the park at the Summer Night Lights program at Sun Valley Park late Thursday night.
One man fired into the crowd, striking a young man in the hand, Neiman said. Another man was shot in the jaw. The pair fled after the shooting.
The incident is believed to be gang-related, Neiman said.
Both victims, ages 17 and 22, are expected to recover.
They are both full-time, seasonal workers hired through Los Angeles’ Conservation Corp., a youth employment program.
The city hires at-risk locals who have gang affiliations or are likely to join a gang to work at the Summer Night Lights programs.
In 2007, in response to an uptick in gang crime, Villaraigosa started the Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development.
GRYD’s Summer Night Lights keeps 32 parks open after dark, offering locals activities and food.
This is the second year the program has taken place in Sun Valley, an area that’s struggled with gang issues.
The shooting dismays Mike O’Gara, secretary of the Sun Valley Neighborhood Council, who believes both crime and gang activity have dropped in the area in recent months.
Tags: At Risk Youth, Los Angeles' Conservation Corp, Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development, summer night lights, Sun Valley