San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Fire Chief William McDonald will join local clergy and community members at City Hall tonight for a prayer vigil for victims of recent violence.
Organized by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley, the vigil is meant to honor victims and their families, as well as San Jose police officers and firefighters who respond to the crimes, association president Kathleen Flynn said. "I think we have a lot of gangs coming into the area and I think we have a lot of kids who are in trouble," Flynn said. "These gangs are recruiting kids at 10 years old."
The vigil starts at 7:30 p.m. in the rotunda at City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St. Flynn will open the ceremony, followed by guest speakers Reed, McDonald, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Chris Arriola, Pastor Danny Sanchez, Associate Pastor Dr. Don Phillips and Pastors Linda and Sonny Lara. Arriola will discuss the county's Parent Project, which helps participants develop parenting skills, and Pastors Sanchez and Lara will share their perspectives as former gang members, Flynn said.
Later in the vigil, an open mic will be provided and the families will be invited to talk about their losses, Flynn said.
The vigil comes as San Jose reels from series of violent deaths in recent weeks, one of the latest involving a man who died Tuesday after being beaten unconscious in the 200 block of North 12th Street Saturday morning.
The man, whose name has not been released, was the city's 22nd homicide victim this year. His murder is still under investigation and no arrests have been made.
On Friday night, San Jose police responded to a report of a person stabbed in the 2900 block of Magliocco Drive in west San Jose and found 35-year-old Danny Brito suffering from at least one stab wound. Brito, a San Jose resident, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 10:35 p.m., police said.
The previous day, Filipe Banderas, 19, was found shot at about 5:20 a.m. on the northeast corner of Santee and Audubon drives in east San Jose after neighbors called police to report hearing gunfire and someone screaming, police said. Banderas, a San Jose resident, was pronounced dead at the scene. The shooting closed down nearby Santee Elementary School for the day.
At about 6:30 p.m. on May 26, Christian Comilang, 15, and Johnson Cular, 16, high school students who were friends since elementary school, were gunned down in the 300 block of Caribe Way off of Rhinehart Drive in east San Jose.
Hours later, at about 10:10 p.m., 20-year-old Justin Watkins, of San Jose, was shot in the 100 block of Hayes Avenue in south San Jose and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Matthew Clifford, 19, and a 17-year-old male were arraigned Wednesday in Superior Court in San Jose on murder charges stemming from the deaths of Comilang and Cular.