WOODLAND (CBS13) — The small town of Woodland is starting to see big city problems with an uptick in shootings. One left a teenager dead one day shy of his 17th birthday.
Eddie Savala knows all too well how dangerous the streets can be.
“They are thinking it’s all cool, but once they get to the joint or prison and do some time it’s all different,” said Savala.
That’s why he’s run the Woodland Boxing club for the last four years. Their goal is to keep kids busy and out of trouble.
“They are all really good kids, they are just making bad choices,” said Savala.
That’s what he thinks happened to 16-year-old Alvaro Gamera, whom he knew. Gamera was gunned down near North and East Streets Monday night.
Hector Chavez, a family friend, said: “He was just a young kid, little lost in his way, but a good kid.”
Woodland police have not identified a suspect or motive in the case and have not indicated whether it’s gang-related. But those who live in Woodland say that area is known for gang activity.
Jose Perez, who has lived in Woodland his whole life, said: “Oh I believe there are more gangs around.”
Perez wonders if that’s why the number of shootings is up. Police say there have been 11 in the last three months, half of those happening in September.
Residents want police to take aim at the problem and the homeless population which they worry also brings crime.
Savala says engaging kids at a young age is the name of the game.
“It teaches them health, healthy living mind and discipline because in life we have to stay on track,” said Savala.
Because staying on track gives them a fighting chance as they mature into adults.
“We are losing kids and we just have to figure it out what are we going to do,” said Savala.
Savala says 2,000 kids came through their doors last year. More than half were from single-parent households. He keeps costs low to $10 a month, so kids can participate.