Two days after a bullet went through the bedroom window of a 13-year-old Pasadena boy and killed him while playing video games, officials gathered outside City Hall to address the tragedy as well as the new patterns of gun violence affecting the city.
Their pledges to step up police patrols and try to get guns off the streets came as more than 100 people, including residents, city officials, police and family, gathered on Monday. evening for a vigil in memory of the boy, Iran Moreno, an A student who loved sports. and video games.
In the past two years, the Pasadena Police Department has confiscated more than 700 firearms, many of them in vehicles, belts and residences as a result of search warrants, Deputy Chief Cheryl Moody said. Of these, 250 have been seized since January 2021.
“The threat of gun violence is a real danger, and the Pasadena Police Department is working diligently to remove guns from the streets and from the hands of those who intend to harm others,” Moody said. The department will continue its commitment to bring in additional patrols and collect intelligence, “to combat this wave of shootings.”
“But we need your help,” she said. “We believe there are people in the community and elsewhere who can have information and can help stop the violence and bring those responsible to justice. We ask you to come forward.
Police believe a stray bullet hit Iran while he was in his room around 6 p.m. Saturday. He managed to stumble out of his bedroom, clutching the wound, then collapsed, family members said.
Iran was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
For two days, the Pasadena police have been busy finding evidence or information that could lead to the shooter.
Investigators do not believe Iran or her family were targeted.
“He was not the intended victim,” Moody said. “It was not the intended dwelling. We don’t know who they were shooting or why.
On Monday afternoon, Iran’s cousin Maria Balvaneda, 27, stood with her hands clasped in front of dozens of flickering candles that formed a growing memorial to the boy.
Balvaneda lives in a rear house on the same property as Iran and her parents.
She told The Times that on the night of filming, she heard two pops that she thought were fireworks. She was about to go out with her parents for a family reunion when her mother noticed flashing lights.
She went out and saw her aunt and uncle standing near a tree. They told him that Iran had been shot and that he was going to the hospital. She tried to console them, but her uncle was particularly upset.
“My son died in my arms,” she remembers, telling her uncle. “I know he’s gone.”
Iranian parents and siblings grappled with the loss on Monday, Balvaneda said. Her uncle did not want to eat and cannot get up on his own.
“All they did was cry, asking her son to bring her baby back,” she said. “It’s just very heartbreaking.”
Iran, she said, “had a great future ahead of it.” He loved basketball and football and excelled in school.
She deplored the violence: “There is always gunfire, always gang violence around. They always hurt the most innocent people.
Mayor Victor Gordo, speaking in front of the town hall on Monday, pledged to “do things differently”.
“We cannot continue to take the same approach to public safety in this city or the region and expect different results,” Gordo said.
The mayor said officials recently called on the police department to step up law enforcement and increase the number of officers on the streets.
“I renew my request that the Pasadena Police Department better and more fully engage individuals who engage in gang and criminal activity throughout the city,” he said. “It must start here, now.” We cannot wait for another child or another member of this community to be hurt.
City Councilor Jessica Rivas, whose district has been hit by numerous shootings, said “we can’t get away.”
“It’s a much bigger problem, and it’s a problem we have to solve,” Rivas said.