Vigil Set For Sunday To Bring Pico Neighborhood Together
Posted Jun. 13, 2013, 7:40 am
Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief
The Pico Youth & Family Center will host a rally called the Santa Monica Vigil for Peace and Healing this Sunday at 6 pm.
PYFC founder Oscar de la Torre said it is in response to gun violence in the Pico neighborhood during the past week.
“It’s going to be a big procession that’s going to start at the corner of Kansas and Yorkshire in front of the house where all this started and we are going to walk to the site where the last man was killed on Tuesday near 16th and Delaware,” de la Torre said.
He said the procession will head westbound on Pico, turning north on 17th Street.
“We hope it erases the negative imagery of last week and replaces it with positivity, love, and peace,” he said.
He said the event is being co-sponsored by the Pico Youth & Family Center, the Santa Monica Youth Alliance, and St. Anne’s Catholic Church, adding more organizations may sign on to participate.
De la Torre said he lives about 200 feet from where Friday’s rampage began at the corner of Kansas and Yorkshire where John Zawahri, 23, shot and killed his father Samir Zawahri, 55, and brother Christopher, 25.
“We shared an alley together,” he said. “I've lived in my building for about 14 years. I knew the father as Sam. I think he’s lived there for 28 years. I would run into the father every once in a while throwing out the trash. He was an easy going guy. I didn’t see anything odd or weird or anything. I saw him probably eight months ago. It’s been a while. They were very reserved. No one in the neighborhood that I know of ever hung out with them or went to a BBQ or anything like that.”
De la Torre, a Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District school board member, said John Zawahri had a troubled past.
When Zawahri was a student at Olympic High in 2006, he made threats against fellow high school students.
“Law enforcement had a search warrant and discovered materials for making pipe bombs,” de la Torre said.
According to reports, Zawahri was hospitalized for a 72-hour "psychiatric hold" following the incident seven years ago when he would have been 16 or 17 years old.
California law allows police to involuntarily confine a person for at least 72 hours in the psychiatric unit of a hospital if that individual is deemed a danger to oneself or others or is "gravely disabled."
Police are continuing to investigate what led Zawahri to carry out the shootings.