Delano community gathers for vigil dedicated to ending violence

July 28, 2020 /

Community members of Delano gathered for a vigil in front of Delano’s City Hall a week ago to bring together families who have lost a loved one to violence. 

“I’ve lived here all my life in this community, and I’ve never seen the ugliness that is happening now where our children are being targeted like animals,” said Lidia Guillen, mother of Adam Rene Guillen, who was killed in a shooting in early 2020.

In just six months, there have been more than eight homicides in Delano, which some say are all gang related, and most victims are under the age of 25 years.

Most recently, on July 2, 11-year-old Makeliah and 12-year-old Elayna were shot and killed at a birthday party. Authorities say nobody has been arrested yet. 

Although there has been a decrease of homicide from 2018 to 2019, there has been an increase in gang-related shootings from 20 incidents in 2018 to 23 in 2019, according to 23 ABC news. 

“We should stand united, to fight against this instead of living in fear, instead of hiding and rushing our children in the minute it turns dark,” said Yolanda who was a family friend of Makeliah.

At the vigil, Yolanda encouraged the community to stand together to help each other to move the community forward to build a safe and community for our families. 

“It hurts to see it happen all over again,” said Delano Police Chief Robert Navarez. 

Navarez said at the vigl this is not the first time he has been to an event like this and pledged to the community that he is not going to rest till the violence stops. 

“When is it going to end,” Navarez asked the community members at the vigil.” “I am sick and tired of this.”

Community members are working together to find ways to further protect their community and fight against violence in Delano. 

“This is like reopening that cut,” said a mother who lost a loved one to violence. “Justice needs to be served.”

The community is urged to call the Anonymous Tip Line (661-721-3369) if they have any information.

Biviana Camacho

Biviana Camacho is a youth reporter for South Kern Sol. She is part of South Kern Sol's Delano branch.