East Palo Alto police investigate shootings

Brandon Bradford, 19, killed, second person injured Wednesday morning

Police are investigating the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man and the shooting of another in East Palo Alto Wednesday (Dec. 14), a police spokeswoman said. The San Mateo County Coroner's Office has identified the victim as East Palo Alto resident Brandon Bradford.

Officers were dispatched to the 2400 block of Gonzaga Street after the city's ShotSpotter system detected possible gunfire in that area at about 11:50 a.m., East Palo Alto police Officer Veronica Barries said.

Arriving officers found Bradford, who had been shot multiple times, Barries said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A second man was also shot Wednesday. Tywaun Livingston, 18, of East Palo Alto suffered a gunshot wound to his torso.

Livingston was walking with a friend in the 100 block of Verbena Drive when an unidentified suspect fired upon them. Livingston found a friend to transport him to the hospital.

The East Palo Alto Police Department had increased/targeted patrol staffing at the time of the shooting in response to a shooting homicide earlier in the day and reports of shots fired in the city, police said.

As Livingston and his friend were driving to the hospital, they were stopped by a police officer responding to the shooting scene. Livingston was found to be in possession of a handgun, according to police.

Livingston was provided with medical aid at the scene of the stop and transported to Stanford Hospital by ambulance. He is expected to survive his injury. The friend was not injured.

The East Palo Alto Police Department is looking into the possibility that both shootings might be related. Both Bradford and Livingston played football for the Palo Alto Knights Pop Warner team in the mid-2000s.

No one has been identified in connection with the killing and shooting and police are seeking witnesses.

Anyone with information regarding either crime can contact the East Palo Alto Police Department anonymously by emailing or call or text-a-tip to 650-409-6792.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

— Palo Alto Online staff

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Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Are you kidding me? EPA needs help badly. There is a shooting almost every week!

Like this comment
Posted by chavo
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 15, 2011 at 3:44 am

There was a shooting about 30 feet from my back door about 3 hours ago. they shot like 9 or 10 shots..its bulls....t that stupid people do this.. i have kids in my home.. dont people have anything better to do than kill eachother..!!!!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Cr
a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2011 at 6:34 am

You have these idiot Judges that had out 6 year sentences to gangmembers who kill someone. Thats ridiculous. Six years is nothing for these scumm bags. Anyone who kills someone should not go to jail for less than 20 YEARS of actual time served. That would change their mentality.

Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 15, 2011 at 9:25 am

Cr, I actually think that for these gang members, 6 years in prison for murder really amounts to a rite of passage, an education in crime, and street cred.

Gang really just baby-games, but played with deadly weapons. It's like the clubs and groups you had on the playground, the cliques, us-vs-them, but it is enforced more dangerously. Instead of throwing snowballs at the other side, they shoot. But fundamentally, it is just baby-games.

These guys may grow up a little more and want out of the gangs, and find that they are not allowed to leave, or by the time they wise-up they have too much baggage to leave. The gangs, and the culture that promotes them, need to be targeted for extermination.

Like this comment
Posted by D
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 15, 2011 at 9:51 am

EPA is still safer than half of San Francisco and a third of San Jose. [Portion removed.] There were only 4 killings last year. Unfortunately, the primary police force is sadly anti-tech and that reflects on the community.

It wouldn't hurt to give these gang members a hope for a better future and realistic role models that they could see on a daily basis. When your only role model is anger and jealousy, you limit your chances of having a great life. Introducing tech and giving kids opportunities has saved a lot of communities. Companies and agencies should take advantage of the fact that kids adapt quickly and catch them while they are young!

Like this comment
Posted by tired of the BS
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 15, 2011 at 11:24 am

D -
Can you please explain what you mean by the primary police being anti-tech? I'm not saying this to be confrontational, I really want to know what else you think should be done. I don't see this problem as solely the responsibility of the police department, but EPA PD seems to be doing a lot with very little. It seems like they are trying to use technology where they can. The chief sends out Facebook updates almost daily, they have sponsored programs with kids making public service videos, support the MMAP program, they have the Make the Call television program, Shot Spotter, in car video cameras, etc...

Like you said, in our community, most of the victims are involved in the game, so their parents had to know these kids where up to no good. I feel that this problem starts at home, two teenagers did not just wake up this morning and become involved in criminal activity.

I think we need to come up with ways of teaching parents how to be "parents" when their kids are toddlers, so they don't turn into criminals when they are 15 yo. Make it part of the curriculum of every school.

Like this comment
Posted by A Grandma
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I agree with you Tired of the BS.
We do need to find a way to teach parents how to be "parents".
I found help in a neighbor she and I both kept a close eye on each others kids. When she was not able to be with hers I watched hers and she did the same for me.
When the kids are in school is a great time to check their room for things they shouldn't have or to get an idea who they are.
Being loving and tough might be hard at times but it is possible.
My kids are grown and wonderful people now.

Like this comment
Posted by D
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

'tired of the bs' -

I normally avoid generalizations that cause a handful of high quality people to be looked on negatively by group activities, but I believe that is a strong source of the problem. Let me describe the "appearance" of EPA police as a group of people that have been handed technology but aren't of the mentality to use it to great effect.

In car video cameras, public service videos, etc have been around for 20 years. The ShotSpotter is a great desperation device that gets sirens blaring after the fact (possibly encouraging gang attention), and listening to San Mateo Law Enforcement radio on an iPhone is almost funny sometimes as they read people's private info as they chase down reports of a red sweater suspect.

If you've ever had to file a police report in EPA, you'll know the difference. You get to wait in a trailer office for 40 minutes while a police officer considers showing up. You'll file a report that will get closed immediately with no investigation. If an item gets vandalized, they ask you to fill out a report online for your insurance, because they can't be bothered to even show up to take a report. When you go to the offices, the police are proud that they learned how to do a google search, and you frequently have to show them how to do things that an 8 year old kid with an iPhone can accomplish in seconds.

The appearance that they give off is that crime is okay, as long as they can be around to handle domestic violence after it has escalated. I doubt the kids preparing to become gang members are Facebook friended to the chief.

Whenever you walk into their offices or followup on a report, they simply exude an atmosphere of ineptitude, and appearances of competence go a long way when you are trying to change the "attitude" of a community.

After all, why should a community invest in a police force that treats them this way?

You also need to be careful when you stop thinking in terms of community and rely on 2 parents who see their kids 4 hours a day. With 8 hours in school and 4 hours interacting with neighbors and after school activities, their personality is minimally influenced at home. Nurturing kids is the responsibility of everybody in the "tribe", so the trick is to make sure all kids are exposed to the right influences.

Kids search for hope. They search for safety and companionship. They search for opportunities and a future. They will take those opportunities where they find them, and their parents can't always be there. They need role models they can turn to, and they have to recognize people in the community who can help them achieve their dreams, both for the future and a safe today.

So what makes a strong community? It's often the science fairs, the shared resources, the activities and safe gathering places available to interact with the community, the pride of a clean neighborhood, the access to adults that they can be proud of, the kids' recognition that they can "become" anything.

When EPA attracted residents who worked at Facebook, HP, Sun, Google, and many other popular and fashionable success stories, opportunities started to open up. When EPA cleaned up the routes from the highway to those places, those residents could invite friends over without comment, and those friends add to available mentors.

The piece that seems to be missing is the recognition that APPEARANCEs and OPPORTUNITIES need to be addressed. You should be able to walk into a police station and it should make you believe that any problem can be resolved without wasting your time. Bring in a greater diversity of talent that strives toward efficiency and pro-activeness. One talented person can easily be worth 5 inattentive people. Identify routes where improvements will spread a change of attitude. Provide home improvement advice that shows how iron bars encourage crime, but a rose bush discourages it. Show how a romantically lit park edged by hills and flowers encourages a safer neighborhood than a flat sterile one with flat walls begging for graffiti. Do volunteer projects where the police of neighboring communities work together with citizens to rebuild community gardens and neighborhoods. When people build things together, there is less desire to tear it down.

It doesn't always take money, so much as convincing companies and volunteers to donate time and resources wisely to coordinate a change. This could make EPA residents feel like they belong and have access to a much larger ecosystem. More than hope, this gives kids a chance.

Like this comment
Posted by Whatever
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2011 at 7:55 am

Hold up, now.. I agree with it start at home, but it is a lot of good parents that know how to parent out there that DO teach there kids right from wrong, but they still go out and do what they wanna do, parents can't be with them 24 hours a day. Kids have peer pressure out there and kids out there that are very persuasive. So it don't always come from the parents at home not doing they job. Stop blaming everything on the parents! I happen to know both families, and both Brandon and Tywuan have good parents and/or role models and they DO teach at home and they DO discipline, but what they do in the streets they parents can't control or be there 24/24, so find another source of blame..society, peer pressure, finger

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm

These are some very good comments. My thanks to the people posting here offering food for thought based on their perspectives & experience.

I read the Facebook updates from the police, & I find them useful. I know criminals use social networking as well & have seen locals in prison who have Facebook pages. It's a little surreal, actually.

I have mixed feelings about ShotSpotter. We stopped calling 911 when we heard gunfire, thinking that ShotSpotter would pick it up & that we didn't want to tie up communications post-shots fired. But when we recently called, it seemed that the ShotSpotter hadn't picked up on what we heard, according to the dispatcher.

A Grandma - thanks also for your comment. Growing up, we were at neighbor kids' houses a lot & listened to their elders. We also were a go-to home for single working moms' kids when they had problems & mom wasn't around. I remember them coming over after the '89 quake, when there were medical problems, including one kid having a seizure, so her brother came to us for help, that sort of thing. This wasn't in EPA, but I know the power of other adults on the same page having your back. Heck, we have that here now & even w/out having kids, I keep an eye on the neighbor kids - always have, always will. That also gave me the respect of a being an elder when a group of local kids tried to "dog jack" one of my dogs from the yard while I was home.

Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm

>>"We do need to find a way to teach parents how to be "parents"."

We have "drivers training", why not "parent training".

In this country, you need a license to cut hair and trim nails, why not license breeding. If we just had the same qualifications required for adopting a dog at the pound, our crime and social problems would be gone by next generation.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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