Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden sought to sooth downtown business owners in the aftermath of a violent weekend that produced two deadly shootings within a few hours of each other.
As he walked with a group of officers, chaplains and concerned citizens through the Waterfront Warehouse on Weber, McFadden’s message was to stay calm, keep alert and inform the police at the first sign of trouble.
“We know a tragedy happened over the weekend and some lives were lost,” McFadden said. “We’re here to support their businesses here, we want our customers to feel safe, we want the businesses to feel safe, and we’re just here to open that communication.”
The chief’s presence was well received after the shocking shooting death in the Waterfront Warehouse Saturday night.
Gunfire rang out just after 11:30 p.m. inside the warehouse, which sits on Stockton’s downtown waterfront on West Weber Avenue and houses many different kinds of businesses and offices. The shooting occurred in the vestibule just outside La Vaca bar and restaurant.
A 41-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. The other two victims, a 39-year-old woman and 47-year-old man, were taken to an area hospital with what police described as “non-life-threatening injuries.”
Less than three hours later four people were shot in the 1300 block of West Fremont Street, Stockton police said. One man died, and three others were injured.
“It’s sad that something like that had to happen for the warehouse to get attention,” said Venerice Olaya, owner of the Lima Beauty Lounge. “It was very reassuring that (the chief) came in.”
Michelle Hickman and Kim Ornelos are directors at the Inspire Academy of Barbering and Cosmetology. They both said they were shocked to hear about the shootings, which happened while their business was closed. Hickman said she appreciated McFadden’s visit, and hopes it leads to a more robust police presence in the area.
“They do need to be out here more,” Hickman said of the police. “They need to make their presence known.”
McFadden took time during his visit to stress the importance of reporting confrontations as soon as possible to give police a chance to respond.
“When tensions are rising, that’s when we need the 911 call,” McFadden said. “Not after something horrific has happened. I need folks to start calling the police earlier so we can intervene.”