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Lompoc community leaders offer safe spaces for teens amid shootings

Foursquare Church
KEYT
Lompoc Foursquare Church offers youth groups and events for teens.

LOMPOC, Calif. - Parents and organizations in Lompoc are talking about how to solve gun and gang violence among teens.

Reactions come after two 14-year-olds and one 18-year-old were shot in a parking lot near the Fiesta Apartments complex. Police are still investigating the shooting.

"It's the nightmare of every parent, of every pastor, of every person in this city when they hear about violence with young people," said Tyler Ogletree, a youth group leader at Lompoc Foursquare Church. "It's something no-one ever wants."

The shooting comes after a heavy year of gun violence in Lompoc in 2019. There were seven homicides in total.

With budget cuts to the Lompoc Police Department, community members are seeking other solutions to teen violence.

Lompoc Foursquare Church is just one organization that offers a safe place for teens. The church offers a weekly youth group at the church and a weekly bible study at Lompoc High School.

They also offer larger events each semester, where every student is welcome.

Pastor Bernie Federmann said the there are more and more options for teens to find a space space.

"We have a lot of great things in our community from the Boys and Girls club, to our Parks and Rec activities, to student athletics," Federmann said. "It doesn't necessarily have to be faith-based."

The Boys and Girls Club welcomes students all the way through high school age. Around 100 a day come to the club every day in the summertime.

Federmann emphasized it's not just up to the police to keep the community safe. Parents, organizations, and schools can work together to eliminate gun and gang violence.

The Lompoc City Council asked voters to consider a sales tax increase in the March election.

City leaders said the money is needed to pay off its debt to the State's pension system, CalPERS. The funding would free up money for the fire, police and other departments in Lompoc.

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Anikka Abbott

Anikka Abbott is a reporter for KEYT | KCOY | KKFX.

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