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Riverside
Eyewitness Account


Riverside Community College board trustee Mary Figueroa was an eyewitness to the recent shooting of Wilfred Campbell and Chet Johnson (see above story).

The following is her account of the event:
“Driving down 14th Street several miles from my house, I arrived at Howard Avenue, just before the railroad underpass. The traffic hit a signal light. I normally have my windows up and my stereo on full blast with music, which always makes me happy…but today, I had my windows down enjoying the nice afternoon breeze. Moments later as I watched for the signal to change, I heard a distinct sound of three “pops” and I wondered, where the sound was coming from…then in front of me to my left in the next lane…a young Black male opens the passenger door of a maroon vehicle and falls out onto the asphalt in front of the vehicle ahead of me. I quickly figured out that this was a shooting in progress.
Immediately, a silver/grey pick up backs up from the turn lane and goes all the way around the traffic and heads down Howard Avenue. I called RPD’s non-emergency number, because I knew that to call the 911 number on my cell would take me forever, if I even got a response. I knew RPD needed to know that the suspect vehicle was headed toward University Avenue.
“The part that has hit me the most, was the blatant arrogance of the shooters to feel so comfortable to perform this shooting in broad daylight, on a busy street with numerous witnesses and innocent people around to be caught in the line of fire. They demonstrated no fear – no conscience. I figure tonight, they will probably go to sleep without any problems or any disturbance in their sleep pattern. They probably don’t even have nightmares. Because in reality, they are our nightmares. They are the individuals we work at making sure our children do not become. They are the people who I have to deal with and work with on a daily basis, once they are caught, because we even have to protect their rights once they are incarcerated.
This whole event hit me, when as I continued once I was finished providing my statement to the police....I drove through downtown on my way to Mt. Rubiduox....for my walk...and I passed the public library....where in front there were about two or three children in white flowing costumes....dancing elegantly for a small crowd of people.....probably their parents......and I thought, this is what it's really about. These innocent children, finding the freedom to express themselves through dance...through music.....and enjoying life and what it has to offer. Enjoying performing for those they love and those who love them.....and anyone else who had the time to stop by and watch them.
As I walked up to Mt. Rubidoux, we stopped, my friends and I....and we looked out over Riverside....and we wondered, what is it going to take to bring an end to this senseless shooting spree! Well what it's going to take, is to make it uncomfortable for those shooters to even consider doing anything for fear of getting caught, because of witnesses who come forward....because of a community that will not tolerate it...and because of a city that puts its resources into the fight against those who are taking away our peacefulness.
It's going to take all of us.....and that part hasn't changed.”

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