SAN ANTONIO - East Side community leaders are condemning recent violent acts, some of which have turned deadly, and are offering solutions to keep teens and young adults occupied and out of trouble this summer.
San Antonio police responded to three East Side shootings within 24 hours Tuesday, one of which claimed the lives of a teenage boy and a 20-year-old man.
The first shooting happened early Tuesday morning on Blaine Street. Another happened minutes later on East Crockett Street. In those shootings, no one was injured by gunfire.
Hours later, San Antonio police responded to a third shooting, this one fatal, at the corner of Hays and Lockhart streets. Police said in addition to the deaths, a 19-year-old individual suffered life-threatening injuries but survived and is in stable condition.
Community leader and mentor Kevin Shandy said the tragic news sounds all too familiar.
"I've lost several kids just by not being able to reach them," Shandy said.
Some of his mentees lost their lives to gun violence.
"DeAndre Cameron, Glen Jackson, Dejon Markin. They were really good kids but just faced with difficult situations," Shandy said.
The names of the three shooting victims have not yet to been released by police.
Oscar L. Dean Sr., a pastor with Corner Gate Church, said the violence seems to be a cycle that repeats itself.
"The church I pastor right now, we buried over 15 people under the age of 20 just last year," he said.
It's a fate Dean knows he could have suffered as a youth, but he ended up spending eight years in prison.
"Drugs, aggravated robbery, aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon was my initial account, which led me to prison," Dean said.
Hoping to break the cycle of incarceration and death, Dean opened his church doors to anyone who needs counsel, especially adolescents.
"As the Book of Isaiah says, 'Come let us reason together.' Just get here, just get here. You don’t even have to come to the building, just call us," Dean said.
The number to reach Corner Gate Church is 210-427-7779, and it is temporarily located at 102 Hub Ave.
The YMCA of Greater San Antonio, San Antonio Police Department and Bexar County Sheriff’s Office also hope to motivate teens to stay active and safe this summer through a free membership. Those interested can reach the YMCA at 210-246-9600 for more information.
The Boys and Girls Club at 3503 Martin Luther King Drive, which also has programs to keep youth engaged. That number is 210-227-2642.
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