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Public Safety

Community Gathers To Mark Second Anniversary Of Libby Lake Shooting

A "celebration of life" sign at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, March 13, 2015.
Promise Yee
A "celebration of life" sign at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, March 13, 2015.

To mark the second anniversary of a fatal shooting at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, hundreds of community members gathered to hold a “celebration of life."

Lieutenant Leonard Cosby has served as the neighborhood police officer at Libby Lake for close to 20 years. He said the event on Friday served as a way to focus on the positive changes in the community since the shooting that left a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy dead.

“Two teenagers were brutally murdered two years ago. So they’re remembering that unfortunate happenstance, the decisions that put those kids in those positions, and they’re also looking at the community as it is today. It’s a community on the verge, I think, of breaking out,” Cosby said.

Two-year-old Jaklin sits to have her face painted at the celebration of life at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, March 13, 2015.
Promise Yee
Two-year-old Jaklin sits to have her face painted at the celebration of life at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, March 13, 2015.

The city has cleared undergrowth and installed lights at the spot where the shooting took place.

Cosby said the park’s openness deters gang members from hanging out, and has allowed the park to return to being a family gathering place.

Two years ago, before the lights were installed, police frequently had to call parents to pick up kids who were out after curfew.

The teens remembered at Friday’s event were shot in the early evening while sitting at a memorial on the park hillside, erected for victims of an earlier shooting.

Cosby said the community is changing for the better. The city, local nonprofits and residents are working to turn around the climate of the neighborhood. Police, city neighborhood services, nonprofits and local families have built a closer collaboration. Cosby said this has established a stronger community core, led more people to access services, and prompted kids to participate in after school programs.

Teens in the REACH program are taking steps to better the neighborhood by mentoring younger kids, pitching in on weekly park cleanups, and finalizing plans to paint park murals.

Corrected: September 24, 2022 at 7:47 PM PDT
Promise Yee is a North County freelance writer. Contact her at promise805@hotmail.com. Twitter: @promisenews. Facebook: promise.yee.1.
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