Last week, there were four gunfire incidents in seven hours in northwest Fort Pierce. ELLIOTT JONES/TCPALM
FORT PIERCE — Four days after an outbreak of gunfire, 100 youths on Friday marched for peace on the streets of the city’s northwest neighborhoods.
According to police, gunfire and bullet injuries are down this year: 11 people were hit by bullets through the end of April, compared with 20 during the same time last year, police reports show. An updated tally isn’t available.
Still, as 17-year-old parade co-organizer Dystani Chery sees it, “there is a lot of violence.”
On Friday, the marchers took to the streets in a 10-block section including North 23rd Street and Avenue D. Police and Sheriff Ken Mascara were on hand.
The march was organized before the latest gunfire last week. And prior to that, 30 of the marchers attended an annual state-sponsored Preventing Crime in Black Communities conference in Orlando.
“It showed we were serious,” Chery said of the march that was done in cooperation with community organizations, including the Roundtable of St. Lucie County, a nonprofit group of community leaders that helps set priorities for public and private financial support for youth programs in the county.
More: Arrest made in Fort Pierce gunfire incident near children
Last week’s gunfire started with a man shooting out of a car window, near where children played in the 1400 block of North 16th Street.
A resident of the neighborhood, Johnnie Heysquierdo, 26, was arrested. He is out of the St. Lucie County Jail on bail on a charge of discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of another person.
His arrest affidavit doesn’t give a motive for the shooting at 7:27 p.m. June 20. In addition to the children been nearby, a witness told of being 20 feet from the car when gunfire erupted.
The car drove off. About 10 minutes later, Heysquierdo returned after being told police wanted to question him. According to police, he said the gunfire came from another vehicle that stopped near him.
At the scene, police found five bullet shells: three on the ground near where police said Heysquierdo sat in a car and two that were in a nearby garbage can.
Three hours later, at 10:12 p.m., there was a report of gunfire in the 2900 block of Avenue G.
Just after midnight, at 12:12 a.m. June 21, there was gunfire in the 2900 block of Avenue L.
The last incident was 2:18 a.m. in the area of North 20th Street and Avenue D, according to police.