A Tyler community is setting out to take back their local
park from gang violence.
People who live around P.T. Cole Park in Tyler held a crime
watch meeting Wednesday night.
Organizers say recent gang activity is making the park
unsafe for children.
In July, 20-year-old Briana Young was shot at P.T. Cole
Park. Tyler police say Young was caught in gang crossfire and died trying to
protect her 3-year-old son.
"When I heard there was a murder in the park it's like, 'not our
park!'," says Eloisa Soriano, a woman who has lived near the park for almost 40
"There has been a lot more gang activity here in this neighborhood
and I don't know where it's coming from but we've got to take it back," says
Aparicio played at P.T. Cole park as a child and he wants his son
to be able to do the same.
"I'm going to keep doing what I need to do until I do feel
comfortable letting my son walk one street over to come play at the park."
Aparicio handed out flyers, asking people to come to the park for
a monthly crime watch meeting. The Tyler Police Department was at the meeting
and talked about ways to end P.T. Cole Park's gang problem.
"What I'm hoping is we can deter crime and gang members hanging
out here by the police presence and the community helping the police deter that
gang activity," says Louis Aparicio, an officer at the Tyler Police Department.
Aparicio says he wants his neighbors to trust police officers, "A
lot of people don't want to call them and they're here to help"
People at the meeting signed up to be on the crime watch group.
Officers encouraged them to call the police if they see any suspicious
Eloisa Soriano says everyone is invited to the meetings, "Come and join us in our neighborhood so it
won't get to your neighborhood … we will take this park back, believe
me, we will."
The P.T. Cole Park neighborhood watch group says they will meet
again sometime next month. They are also planning to participate in the Texans
Against Crime Day on October 88th.