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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Grossmont High grad dies in local shooting; neighbors want solutions

A shooting late last month in the College Area left a young area man dead and led to an arrest by the San Diego Police Department (SDPD).

On July 1, SDPD announced it had arrested David Rasean Vereen, 22. He was booked on charges of suspicion of murder and suspicion of firing on a dwelling.

Recent Grossmont High School graduate Kevin Burton, 18, was shot in the head after leaving a party in the College Area in the early morning hours of June 25. He was placed on life support at an area hospital but since passed away.

According to SDPD, “On Saturday, June 25 at approximately 1:45 a.m., the San Diego Police Communications Center received a report of a male with a gunshot wound to his upper body. His friends had brought him to a local hospital for help. Medics transported the male to a second hospital for a higher level of trauma care.

Around the same time, officers from Mid-City Division were responding to check the area of 6400 El Cajon Boulevard based on multiple radio calls reporting gunshots. They located the scene where the victim was shot. Due to the nature of the victim’s injuries, the Homicide Unit responded to investigate.

Based on preliminary information, it appears that the victim and his friends were at a party in the area of 4800 Art Street (pictured above). Shortly after they left the party in their vehicle, and turned westbound from Art Street onto El Cajon Boulevard, the victim was struck by a bullet.

Detectives are still working to determine if there was some sort of altercation or incident at the party prior to the shooting. A second bullet believed to be fired during this incident struck an apartment complex window on the south side of El Cajon Boulevard. No one was injured at the apartment complex.”

College Area residents want solutions

For residents in the area, they want solutions to what some deem an ongoing problem with parties, shootings and more.

Jean Hoeger has lived in the College Area for 35 years and has a seen a lot take place in that time.

When asked what she feels is the cause or causes of shootings in recent years in the neighborhoods, Hoeger points to the decrease in police patrols.

I believe the cause of these shootings in recent years is the loss of police presence in the College Area, leading to an explosion in the number and size of the parties, exacerbated by the rise in social media that blasts the parties out, bringing in the non-student element that are not there to party,” Hoeger commented.

Asked if she feels there is enough cooperation between campus police and SDPD, Hoeger said that is hard to answer.

The community is not fully aware of what the SDPD and SDSUPD are working on,” Hoeger commented. “Residents who call the SDSUPD when the SDPD dispatcher tell them the response time is not good due to too many calls holding are then told by SDSUPD that they can’t respond to an off-campus party, as it is not their jurisdiction. SDSU and the City of San Diego need to work together to create a working relationship that allows the SDSUPD to respond to party calls when the SDPD is not going to be able to in a timely manner.”

Hoeger is among the residents concerned about what seems like endless partying in the area, notably among younger individuals.

Parties are one of the top concerns within the community,” Hoeger remarked. “Not only do they affect the quality of life of residents, students included, it is obvious the situation is getting out of control.”

Jo-Ann Humphus has called the College Area home for nearly 65 years.

Much like Hoeger, Humphus sees parties as an issue, noting they occur on other evenings besides weekends.

Off-campus SDSU parties are advertised online, and unfortunately, bring in large numbers of partiers, non-students, from all over San Diego,” Humphus said. “Since there has been more off-campus housing, and satellite fraternities, as a result of the influx of mini-dorms, and ADUs, the parties have escalated, and so has the violence. Shootings are becoming more frequent, and parties can occur almost any night, not just on the weekend.”

Asked if she feels there is enough cooperation between SDSU police and the SDPD, Humphus said she did not think cooperation was the right word.

I think coordination is a better word,” Humphus remarked. “SDPD has jurisdiction in the College Area, off campus. When SDPD-Eastern Division is too busy to come to the party calls they can call campus police for assistance. Unfortunately, not only is SDPD understaffed, but so is SDSUPD. We have been told there are only two SDSUPD officers available in the evenings, and their first priority is to the campus. I would like to see SDSUPD being called for assistance earlier, than later, in hopes that they can come out and shut the parties down before things get out of control.”

With neighborhood concerns seemingly growing over parties and even violence breaking out, Humphus fears neither are going away anytime soon.

The violence is not going away – it is only getting worse, and with the fall semester at SDSU approaching, we are all gearing up for another party-packed semester,” Humphus commented. “The fraternity houses, in our neighborhoods, will be in full swing with Greek events and the SDSU’s events, such as Aztec Nights, which are planned to keep students on campus, only give us residents a few hours reprieve, because once the events are over, the parties begin in our neighborhoods.”

According to Humphus, attempting to get through to SDPD to report the parties is taking a toll on area residents.

You can be on hold anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour or more, and then be told that it’s a busy night, and they will try to get officers out,” Humphus remarked. “Party calls are a low priority, and there are many times that SDPD has not been able to respond. One of our biggest concerns is that SDSU does not take responsibility for their off-campus students, and as long as the students can get away with hosting these parties, sometimes around 100 people, or more, the parties will continue – and so will the violence. It is not just our safety we are concerned about, but also the students’ safety, as well.”

SDSU fall classes are slated to begin Monday, Aug. 22.

Photo credit: Karen Austin

Reach editor Dave Thomas at: Dave@sdnews.com.

World Nation News Desk
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