Two years to the day since two African-American teens were shot and killed at Cinnamon Creek Apartments in Redlands, family, friends and loved ones gathered Saturday to remember the deceased, and to call for peace between blacks and Hispanics.
Andrew Jackson, 16, and Quinn McCaleb, 17, were killed Jan. 5, 2011, and two others were wounded when a gunman walked up to them and opened fire, according to police.
Four alleged gang members who were arrested in April and accused of the shootings - Adrian Powers, 18, Anthony John Legaspi, 19, John David Salazar, 23, and Jose Ramon Lara, 29 - remained locked up Saturday in county facilities in San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga and Adelanto, according to inmate records.
The case has yet to come to trial.
The gathering Saturday evening began at Sun Avenue and Post Street, where Quinn was found deceased, across the street from the apartment complex where Andrew was found fatally wounded. It was emotional for many.
James Parisi, 18, said he knew Andrew and Quinn from Redlands High.
"This day to me is, I like to celebrate it, you know?" Parisi said. "My friends died but everybody passes on and that's what has to happen. I'd rather celebrate it than sit there and mourn over it. That's how I feel about it."
Amorina Huerta, 17, and Andrea Grissom, 16, said the day was sad for them.
"I knew Andrew," Huerta said. "And Quinn was a good boy. They should be right here, right now, with us."
"Quinn was really quiet," Grissom said. "If you would first meet Quinn. They were really good boys. They were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. It's sad to have seen them days before and then hear about this. It was just too much."
Asked if they wanted to say something on video, Parisi and Huerta spoke directly to Andrew and Quinn.
"I love you guys," Parisi said. "It's been two years now. It still feels like it was just yesterday. I miss you guys."
"I love you guys, and I feel like it's fresh," Huerta said. "It feels like it was just yesterday. I miss you, I love you, but I know you're still here. I love you and I miss you."
A man at the gathering also spoke directly to Quinn.
"Quinn called me his Uncle Big Papa," he said. "I want to say I love you man, it's been two years. We love you and we still represent you out here. We still loving you and letting your memory live. Every day, all day. And we love you Quinn McCaleb."
Quinn's father, David McCaleb, said he appreciated so many people came out to remember his son.
"We just want to make sure nobody else have to go through this here again," McCaleb said. "Try to save the next kids. We've got to watch our kids, teach our kids to do something better than this. All them guns and that gangbanging stuff.
"This reminds of the kids who got shot up in that school in Connecticut," McCaleb said. "I imagine how them people felt, you know what I'm saying? Because I know that feeling. You don't know how it feels until one of yours is gone. Just the fact that people still remember my son after two years is good. We'll do it again next year. That lets me know he really had some love from people here, from his friends."
Gail Howard, whose son Jordan was shot in the eye in the same incident two years ago, said the shooting and its divisive aftermath led her to join the City of Redlands Human Relations Commission.
"I wanted to make sure this walk got put on again, and it's going to be put on every year because this cannot be forgotten," Howard said. "What happened should never have happened. My son Jordan Howard was shot in the eye. It's too much for him. He won't be here tonight. He's 18 now.
"It prompted me to become a commissioner, and it prompt me to do a lot of things," Howard said. "It's just a shame. What I try to do, I invited a lot of the Hispanic community out so we can unite and become one again. Because it's split the town since the shooting. People have a tendency, they want to divide. And we can't divide. That's just something that needs to be done. And I don't want these young men to be forgotten. People get killed every day, and it's a shame, you become numb to it."
Redlands police Chief Mark Garcia, Mayor Pete Aguilar and Councilmember Bob Gardner also attended.
"I think it's important for the community to remember the tragedy that occurred," Garcia said. "And that we come together as a community to remain strong to fight against these types of things. This is a good thing for us to be here this time around because the people that committed the crimes are in custody. We couldn't say that the last time we were here.
"But I think it's always important to us as a community, this is what makes us strong, to be able to survive the tragedies that occurred out here and come together and try to keep those things from happening again in the future."
Quinn's father spoke again at the end of the gathering at Sun and Post, stating problems between African-Americans and Hispanics began long before he and his family came to Redlands. He urged city officials to protect young blacks the same as everyone else.