STOCKTON (CBS13) – People in the Stockton community still mourning the death of three-year-old Melanie Martinez. With no leads, the reward for information has gone from $10,000 to $20,000.
“We know that might entice someone that has that information,” said Officer Joe Silva with the Stockton Police Department. “They might be too afraid to come forward, but that money might entice them now to call Crime Stoppers, give us that information, that key piece of information that our detectives can make an arrest.”
Martinez was riding in the backseat of her family’s car on Sunday night when guns went off. She was shot and died later at the hospital.
“That family’s pain is all of our pain,” said Sammy Nunez, executive director with Fathers in Families. “This kind of pain, it’s so deep you’ll never get over it.”
A few days after the shooting, Stockton police went door to door near Jefferson and Commerce with their Neighborhood Impact Team.
“We will go out, knock on doors, and talk to the community,” Silva said. “We’ll listen to their concerns and their frustrations, but we also want to educate them on how they can get involved.”
“We can say that we understand but we don’t understand what it’s like to lose a child,” said Nunez, who works with families after violent crimes.
On Thursday, Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva announced plans to increase security and gun sweeps to eliminate gang violence in the city. But Nunez wants to see that go a step further: he said that young people really need someone to take an active role in their lives and give them alternatives to gang involvement.
“I don’t agree with punishing people who have already been punished enough,” he said.
A citywide prayer is planned for Saturday at 9 a.m. at Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium.