Youth walking on Fresno’s west side still face safety risks. On Thursday, Sept. 22, 19-year-old Luis Pacheco was jumped by three individuals while walking in his neighborhood. His assailants hit him in the face and stole his bike, all in broad daylight with several onlookers.
Luis was walking with his friend Jonathan Castro on California and Maud when three other youth began taunting them, saying “Hey man, you wanna fight?” The two friends were walking home from a convenience store and tried to ignore the taunts. “We decided to walk away,” Luis said. “I was nervous and scared, but I told myself that I could handle it.”
The youth pursued Luis and Jonathan and one punched Luis in the face. Luis thought about fighting back, but decided not to, because the youth were so young and he was unsure wether he would be prosecuted for hitting another teen. While this occurred, Jonathan was in a tug of war with one of the other youth, struggling for control over Luis’s bike. When the third youth started fighting for the bike as well, Jonathan lost his grip, and the three assailants ran off with Luis’ bike.[pullquote_right]We decided to walk away,” Luis said. “I was nervous and scared, but I told myself that I could handle it.”[/pullquote_right]
A few minutes later, Luis and Jonathan were able to flag down a police officer. After telling him what had happened, the officer called for assistance, then left in pursuit of the perpetrators. As soon as he left, another officer arrived in order to get a more detailed explanation of the events from Luis and Jonathan. While this was happening, Jonathan noticed that someone was riding down a street one block away with a bike that looked very similar to the one that had been stolen from Luis. After receiving this information the police officer departed to check it out and see if this was the correct bike.
In the end things turned out well for Luis because his bike was recovered and he wasn’t badly hurt. However, he believes this incident should have never happened. He was walking down a big street in broad daylight, but still he became a victim of violent crime. No one truly attempted to help him despite the fact that many cars passed and some nearby people witnessed the event.
After being jumped, Luis doesn’t feel safe walking around the area. “I feel scared walking that path in my neighborhood, but on the other hand I feel prepared if the situation were to ever repeat itself,” Luis said.
Luis Pacheco attends Fresno City College and is pursuing a career in counseling. He has been involved with The kNOw since 2009 and serves as a role model to some youth.