SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A sad blues song playing from a car radio filled the air as heavy hearts stood in McClatchy Park on Sunday night to honor 17-year-old Jaylen Betschart.
Friends and teachers at Sacramento High School said the baseball and football player was shot and killed in one of a series of Sacramento shootings this weekend.
“He was taken from us way too soon. It’s hard to come to the reality of that,” said Domina Stamas, Jaylen’s science teacher.
“I denied and denied it, and then it started hitting me,” Semaj Jessie, Jaylen’s good friend, said.
This pain is also hitting the family of Makaylah Brent – a 9-year-old who was killed in a different Saturday shooting in Del Paso Heights.
“And when it happens to your family, when death knocks on your door, you understand what I am saying? When it knocks on your door, are you ready? Because we’re not,” Debra Cummings, Makaylah’s cousin, said.
At least three are dead and ten are injured in the four Saturday shootings being investigated by the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg tweeted a statement on Sunday.
“It’s heartbreaking to have a child killed and another injured in a senseless act of violence. The escalation of shootings here and across America is unacceptable. We are working with Sacramento Police and our community leaders to step up our violence prevention efforts. Praying for peace and reconciliation in our community,” he wrote.
One of those leaders who’s spoken to the mayor is Brother To Brother founder Mervin Brookins.
Brookins said supporting the families is the biggest thing right now.
“We’re not going to make assumptions as to how it happened or why it happened right now,” Brookins said. “Right now, what we want to do is help the family heal and help the community heal and get past this.”
There’s plenty of heartache and pain for those who lost a loved one and close friend in these shootings. Now, as they deal with their own grief, there’s a search for hope and healing within their community.
“There are deep-seated wounds that need to be healed within our community,” Stamas said.
“As a community, it starts with us. Not with the government, not with the law, it starts with us as a community,” Jessie said.
The president and CEO of the Sierra Health Foundation said he’s also spoken to the mayor following these shootings. He told CBS13 over the phone that the organization is working directly with the families to give them immediate assistance that they require in their time of need.