News: Three Injured in Series of Belle Haven Shootings
The Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park has seen significant improvements in the last few years, with thriving community programs and improved public schools, but on Wednesday three people were injured during a series of shootings in the residential area.
The first was a drive-by shooting on the 400 block of Hamilton Avenue near the scene of a previous shooting on June 21st, the Daily Post reports. Menlo Park police suspect that the incident was gang-related and the victim was targeted. The suspected shooter is 21-yr-old Jaime Romero.
Shots were fired at 1:07 p.m. while children were in classes directly across the street at Belle Haven Elementary School. The Daily Post reported that a teacher who heard the shots immediately called administration, and that the school was put under lock-down for roughly 25 min., slightly past the usual end of the school day.
The second shooting took place later in the evening after 6 p.m. on the nearby 1300 block of Willow Road. According to the Daily Post, Menlo Park Police Commander Dave Bertini suggested that the second shooting “may have been sparked by a traffic altercation.”
It is still unclear what went on between the 24-yr-old victim and the suspect, but witnesses reported a man, potentially the victim, came at the suspect with a bat before two shots were fired.
In an attempt to arrest the suspect, a Menlo Park Police officer was injured as well, and was later taken to the hospital to be treated.
Later Wednesday evening, six more men were detained as police tried to piece together details of the fight.
The Post reported Wednesday that according to Bertini, investigators “don’t know what [the six'] involvement is in the situation at this point…there [were] shellcases and blood all over the place.”
Both shootings took place in the blocks surrounding Belle Haven Elementary School, a K-8 feeder school to M-A. Thus, the M-A community was deeply saddened by news of the event as for many of our students it was close to home.
Senior Marleyna Mohler posted on her Instagram Thursday morning: “Lets hope this doesn’t go any further…Time to thank our officers.”
The Menlo Park police department recognized the emotional state of the Menlo Park community as well on Wednesday night, and have encouraged people to not retaliate in the face of their distress.
Detective Sergeant Jaime Romero (not related to the 21-yr-old shooting suspect) spoke on behalf of the department, saying: “we hope and we ask the public to allow us to do our jobs and investigate this and hopefully bring the suspects to justice, and that way we have a safe resolution to the incident that occurred out here.”