Anger and pain are the feelings parents Vernon Franklin Jr. and Veronica Mack struggle with this week after a car shootout killed their son Dorian Franklin.
âYou know he was tall, but he was the nicest guy you would want to meet,â Mack said. âHe loved his family.
Dorian Franklin, 34, was shot dead Monday afternoon in the Mountain View community. He was a new father who was planning to get married and start a new business. His family said he stopped at a convenience store to chat with friends – who may have been the intended targets. A second man was shot dead but survived.
Dorian Franklin’s family are left with the pain and anger of losing their son.
“It hurts. It was my baby, it was my son, my only child,” Mack said. “This guy took it from me.”
âI will never see my son again. It’s a tough thing for a father to swallow, âsaid Franklin’s father Vernon Franklin Jr.â It’s ridiculous. â
This is the second gang-related shootout in a week, police confirmed, and it comes after a recent “season of peace,” where gang members agreed not to commit violence, in part thanks to to the community outreach and mentoring group CAST.
The Community Assistance Support Team offers resources to end violence in the community, primarily by sending former gang members like co-founder Bishop Cornelius Bowser to speak to members and gain acceptance. not to retaliate.
âFrom the conversations I’ve had, a lot of these guys want peace,â Bowser said. âThey traumatized, they messed up. They don’t want, you know, violence.
Bowser said some were ready to accept peace, but feared that if they let their guard down they could be the next target.
In March, San Diego announced a partnership with CAST and the formation of a pilot program called No Shots Fired. The goal is to get gang members to lay down their guns while providing resources and support to change their lives. The program was supposed to start in the summer, but CAST says there is a delay because the city may not be able to provide funds to help pay the bills of gang members while they are going through the reform process.
No Shots Fired is modeled on similar programs across the country.
In these programs, other gang members, who agree to participate, must pledge to lay down their guns. They undergo cognitive behavioral therapy and receive counseling and assistance in finding employment. If they behave well, some might even receive stipends of up to $ 1,000.
The program was greeted with skepticism. Some argue that cities shouldn’t be paying people not to shoot themselves.
Bowser said people need to understand that these programs are necessary because of the inequalities that black and brown communities have faced for decades, putting them at a disadvantage compared to other communities with more resources.
âWe have had these problems for almost 50 years now and you just can’t get over them; we still have violence. said Bowser. “That’s what most people think the solution is, it’s the police, it’s not, it’s not the police, it’s the community coming together with solutions.”
Ideas Mack said she would now argue that she has joined a parent group, which no one wants to be a member of. And she hopes this program will prevent other families from going through what she is currently going through.
âMy only prayer is that I hope this will not continue. You know how to stop. Stop him. I don’t want anyone else to lose another life like this, âMack said.
Elijah Smith, 25, was arraigned on Friday for the murder of Dorian Franklin. He has pleaded not guilty and will have a bail hearing on October 30.
âWhat saddens me is how could another human being shoot another human being? I mean, we’re all black, you know, and we’re supposed to help each other, âMack said. “How could you live with yourself knowing that you took someone’s son, father, brother, uncle, cousin, godson.”
The next âSeason of Peaceâ is scheduled for Thanksgiving through New Years.
NBC 7 has contacted the city attorney’s office for an update on the No Shots Fired program. We have not yet received a response.