By Velena Jones

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Two homicides occurred in the first two days of 2022 marking a violent start to the year in Sacramento.

The city’s first homicide of the year happened in the area near Florez Bar and Grill in South Sacramento.

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“It’s a traumatic experience for everybody,” explained Isabella Florez, the assistant manager of Florez Bar and Grill. “They were all frightened. They wanted to make sure that the guy was OK of course.”

The Florez family owns two businesses in a South Land Park shopping center. She explained that employees who heard the gunfire came outside to try to help the victim. The man died on-scene after being shot outside of Mike’s Liquor store.

“It’s not something that really happens around here. Our location, we are trying to bring it up more than it’s going down but it’s really hard,” said Florez.

“When we are here in this problem as early as it is in 2022 but what are we doing to really solve the issues?” questioned Berry Accius, founder of Voice of the Youth.

Accius doesn’t believe more police will solve the issue. Instead, he says funding more prevention programs will make an impact.

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“We only solve it when we have a full court press on all these issues happening, when we start saying we are going to invest in these communities,” he said. “And focusing on all the illegal guns that these kids are getting.”

In 2020, Sacramento had 57 homicides, the highest number since 2006. In total, 240 people were shot throughout the city during the year.

“We had zero youth homicides before the pandemic and then the pandemic hit. Statistically, what has worked has been preventions from organizations like myself and many others doing the work and then the police officers can focus on the work that needs to be done: getting the guns off the streets,” explained Accuis.

In his last tweet before retiring from the Sacramento Police Department, the former chief, Daniel Hahn, called for a “renewed focus on collaboration and teamwork” to ensure the city’s safety.

It’s a violent start to the new year residents hope will not continue.

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“I just hope all this violence stops,” explained Mike’s Liquor customer, Chris Selim. “Hopefully it gets better. You just got to think positive and keep on praying.”

Velena Jones