Sanger Family Mourns Over Death of Son
09/07/2007 (KFSN) -- A family in Sanger is mourning the death of their youngest son. He is the fourth murder victim in Sanger so far this year. But what's so incredible about this story, is his father has been working for years to rid Sanger of gang violence.
Fresno County Sheriff's deputies are still looking for a suspect in the stabbing death of Caleb De La Cerda. Caleb's brother was also stabbed, but is okay.
The family doesn't know exactly what happened. But they "do" know despite their efforts to stop it, they're seeing an increase in gang violence in their city.
Caleb de la Cerda would have been 18 years old on Friday. He was the youngest of Sandra and Romero's five children. Last Friday night, he was out with his older brother when he was stabbed. Sheriff's deputies say Caleb was not a gang member.
Romero de la Cerda, Caleb's father, says, "He used to walk the town. He used to hang around with people on that side or on this side. He didn't care, he didn't claim any gangs."
Whether the suspect was a gang member is not known, but it was still a violent death, something Romero de la Cerda has been trying to stop.
Romero says, "We've always believed in God and anybody who needed help in the area, we would help them. I didn't care if they were gang members, I didn't care if they were poor."
In a city of 24 thousand, the murder rate is increasing at an alarming rate. So far this year, there have been four murders, three of them gang related. Last year, there were four murders, two of them gang related. In 2005, the murder rate was zero. In 2004, one person was killed.
The de la Cerda's live in an area of Sanger called "the Chankla," a well known gang infested neighborhood. It's been a mission field for Romero. Romero says, "So, they have to have someone there interceding for their kids, pulling them out or getting them help." Something he says he has been doing for years.
De la Cerda says the entire Sanger community needs to battle the gang problem together and he believes his son's death just might be the catalyst for change.
De la Cerda says, "He's in a better place and as long as he's in Heaven, that's all that matters. I'm gonna keep doing what I have to do and I'm not gonna stop."
The funeral service for Caleb de la Cerda will be at the Annadale Baptist Church this Sunday night at 7:00 pm.
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