OCEANSIDE, Calif. - It's a chilling public service announcement that’s hitting a little too close to home for students who were friends with four people shot in Oceanside just one month ago.
But the students' tell 10News that their award-winning work was inspired by real-life events that happened at Libby Lake Park.
It’s a powerful, 66-seconds video denouncing drug use and violence in the community.
It’s the same Oceanside community where four teenagers were gunned down in March, near a dirt hillside in Libby Lake Park. Two of the teenagers -- 13-year-old Melanie Virgen and 15-year-old Edgar Sanchez -- died.
10News spoke with one of the other victims that day, David Garcia, who was shot seven times, once in the head, and survived.
“I just fell .... I dropped and then saw my friends die,” said Garcia.
Garcia had been a popular member of a community program called Project REACH for several years. We’re told that he inspired others in the program to make a powerful public service announcement, one that has now won an award.
“Our kids didn't know he was getting out of the hospital,” said Project REACH Coordinator Jimmy Figueroa, referring to the one month Garcia had been in the hospital after being shot. “So that same day, we came up with the concept of this video. [Garcia's] voice is narrating it. I think that's what makes it so special and I think that's why it’s getting the recognition that it’s getting."
The video, made by nearly two dozen Oceanside teenagers with Project REACH, has now been named as the winner of a video contest by the North Coastal Prevention Coalition.
The video highlights teen use of marijuana, which we’re told by REACH, was a requirement in the video contest. The video also highlights the negative things that can happen if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. For instance, what happened to Garcia.
“It affected me because I live right here,” said 15-year-old Anthony Rincon, who is a Project REACH member. “It happened right behind my house. It’s kind of scary to go outside knowing there's stuff like this.”
“You definitely won’t die from it, but it can put you in places at the wrong time and you wouldn't want to be there,” said 17-year-old Jairo Silva, also a Project REACH member.
With Project REACH’s win, they will also get $1,000. Figueroa told 10News that they plan to use the money for a day trip to Knott’s Berry Farm, to celebrate the win.
As we reported on 10News on March 31st, four men were arrested in connection with the March shooting at Libby Lake Park. All four men are teenagers themselves and are being held behind bars, each charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.