For several years now, Huntington Beach has been labeled a "safe
city." Most residents probably feel safe and secure living, working
and playing here. And rightly so.
Surf City is certainly safer than many other cities, and our
police work diligently to make it so.
But as readers reflect on the happenings -- both good and bad --
here in Huntington Beach, we at the Independent felt we would be
remiss in not asking police if the three murders in the Oakview
neighborhood since May are something we should be concerned about.
Their answer was no. They called the murders anomalies.
Maybe so -- we'd like to think so. Yet, we caution against
brushing off the violence of the past few months prematurely.
After nearly three years without a reported homicide in the city,
the Oakview community was shocked and devastated when Oscar Gaytan,
18 and Heriberto Tapia Vasquez, 16, were brutally shot to death in
the early morning hours of May 11.
Then on May 28, a young boy was
critically wounded when he was shot in the chest at an
intersection in that same neighborhood. A maroon Cadillac was seen
fleeing the scene.
On July 29, 19-year-old Ernesto Duarte was found dead in an alley
in the Oakview neighborhood of a gunshot wound to the upper chest.
On Friday night, a man was shot in the arm at a stop light, when
the passenger of a maroon Cadillac fired a flurry of shots at him
before fleeing the scene.
The killings broke the city's nearly three-year streak without a
While we know the police take these crimes very seriously, and
have in fact already identified a possible suspect in the murders of
Gaytan and Vasquez, we just hope they are not too quick to brush off
the possibility that a deadly trend of violence has emerged in the
A trend that just may need extra attention in the coming months.