FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A Central Fresno building that hosts an after-school program for students stands riddled with bullets Saturday and that neighborhood is about a block from the Manchester Mall.
It's a place where Fresno Police will start operating its substation next week and the local pastor is hoping that will bring change to an area that desperately needs it. Pastor Tom Sims showed the number of bullet holes he found inside his trailer.
"There's a lot of crime here, always has been but there's been an escalation," he said.
The killing of 26-year old Barkete Shita is an example of that. The young man was murdered Thursday after pulling into a parking lot near Jiffy Lube on Blackstone Avenue. The shooting was right around the corner from Sims' community center.
"It just kind of drives it home and makes it more personal and reaffirms the need for us to be here," he said.
The local pastor is doing everything he can to help save the community. He's already started cleaning up Granny Park and is trying to create a safe and enjoyable place for families.
"We'd love to see park benches," Sims said. "We'd love to see table picnics, grills. We'd like to see a playground."
Council member Clint Olivier, who oversees crime-plagued District 7, hopes the new police substation in Manchester Mall will change that.
"People want to see police, people are afraid, people are scared to go out at certain times a day," he said.
The violence scares people like Patricia Gibbs who walks through the park to get home.
"I stay in the gated ones," she said. "I stay in the house I don't get out. So, it's bad."