LODI (CBS13) — Lodi brands itself as a city that is “Loveable and Liveable,” but an early Sunday double homicide marks the eighth homicide this year.
The latest homicides happened near the Alibi Bar in east Lodi. A single flower bouquet sits in the parking lot between the bar and a corner store, serving as a memorial for the latest homicide in Lodi which claimed the lives of two men.READ MORE: Footage Released Of Carjacking Suspect's Assault On Sacramento Sheriff's Deputy
Police say the homicides are related to an increase in gun violence.
Just across the way, another memorial sits for the victim of the fourth homicide of the year. Anjalina Zuniga is the cousin of the victim, who was shot and killed.
“It’s getting worse, the violence is just getting way out of hand,” Zuniga said.
Zuniga is a Lodi native. She says she doesn’t recognize her hometown anymore.
“I don’t like how my own little block can be so dangerous when I was growing up it used to be so fun,” she said.
Locals who have been around much longer than Zuniga say the violent trend is disturbing.READ MORE: President Biden Releases Federal Funds To Aid Fire Hose Shortage In California
“It’s really sad what’s happening to our town. I’m 44-years-old, been in the area all my life, and it was never like this,” said Gidget Herren.
Lodi Police are just as stunned at the number of homicides this year.
“In my 17 years, this is my first time I’ve seen eight and I think this is the highest number we have seen in a year,” Lt. Mike Manetti said.
Between 2008 and 2013 the city averaged two homicides a year. Those numbers climbed between 2014 and 2016 with only one in 2017.
Now, the seventh and eighth homicides have shaken the community.
As Lodi Police steps up its patrols, locals say they can’t help but think their small town is experiencing the symptoms of a big city.MORE NEWS: Thief Takes Off With Antelope Woman’s Bright Yellow Cotton Candy Trailer
Police say they’re still looking for a suspect from Sunday’s homicides.